Teamsters wins close election at XPO facility in New York Teamsters wins close election at XPO facility in New York

Teamsters wins close election at XPO facility in New York

The Teamsters has won a representation vote for a group of LTL drivers in Albany, New York, the first step in what traditionally has been a long road to actually getting a union into an XPO facility.

The vote earlier this month was close, according to officials. Specific vote totals were not available. . It still needs to be certified by the National Labor Relations Board. There are 36 drivers in the bargaining unit. 

But just voting to be represented by the Teamsters does not mean a contract is signed with the company. When FreightWaves asked XPO (NYSE: XPO) how many successful Teamsters organization votes had taken place and where negotiations toward a contract were still pending, the number that was provided was easy to remember: one.

It is for an XPO LTL facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Workers there voted to be represented by the Teamsters more than five years ago, in October 2016.

Since that time, the Teamsters has scored significant victories in its long-running standoff with XPO, securing its first two contracts with the LTL carrier within weeks of each other earlier this year. One was in Miami; the other was in Trenton, New Jersey.

At the same time, the Teamsters recently has been on the losing end of decertification votes or union decisions to withdraw from earlier successful representation votes at several locations. The union lost decertification votes in Laredo, Texas, Cinnaminson, New Jersey, and Aurora, Illinois. The “self-withdrawals” came at two facilities in California.

The reasons for those decertification votes and withdrawals vary depending on who is speaking. Union representatives will say that XPO implemented a stalling tactic — avoiding signing a contract at all costs — that led workers to throw in the towel and vote to decertify. They would argue that the five-year duration since the vote in King of Prussia is evidence of that. 

The view from XPO is that the union failed in delivering on its promises and the decertification votes followed. In the case of the withdrawal of representation at an XPO Los Angeles facility, a contract had been negotiated and was to be put before the rank and file. But the contract had a strong chance of losing, according to sources, and the union pulled the representation before suffering a defeat.  

John Bulgaro, president of Teamsters Local 294, which led the representation vote in Albany, said this election was the third attempt to vote in the Teamsters at the XPO facility there. He conceded that the election was close.

“They want to be represented by a union, and they are a little incensed the company took such a strong anti-union approach to what is their lawful right,” Bulgaro told FreightWaves.

Bulgaro said there are about 5,000 workers in Local 294. Individual units in Local 294 are as high as 1,500 workers and as small as two or three.

Asked about the results in Albany, a spokeswoman for XPO issued this statement: “If the election stands, it will impact 35 drivers at our service center in Albany, New York. It won’t change the direct working relationship that XPO enjoys with more than 17,000 hourly employees across North America.”

In its prepared statement announcing the election victory, Local 294 said that in the contract it hopes to negotiate, it is looking for “protections from inward-facing tractor cameras and future constant surveillance; an end to unfair discipline; fair treatment for all; real seniority protections; adequate staffing levels; and a voice on the job.”

In other recent Teamsters developments:

— The union won a unionization vote for truck drivers with the Hospital Central Services Association. That vote covered 18 drivers in the Seattle area who deliver medical linens. 

— The Teamsters are involved in the third recent strike in four months against Keolis Transport, the private company that provides transit service in the Reno, Nevada, area under a government contract. Ninety percent of the union members recently rejected an offer by Keolis of a 12% increase over three years.

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