Organizing has been tough at XPO Logistics, a diverse freight hauling company that does logistics for the likes of Pepsi, Quaker and IKEA. The company has been notoriously anti-union. After holding successful votes for unionization, many locations have struggled to get a first contract.
After a long fight, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ratified separate contracts for its members in Trenton, N.J. and Miami. The contracts were signed a week apart.
Greg Chockley, National Campaign Coordinator for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the Teamster’s efforts to ratify the contracts, anti-union strategies used by XPO during negotiations and more.
Years of struggle and negotiations resulted in contracts
XPO Logistics is a company known for its union busting tactics, Chockley said. They did everything they could to prevent these contracts from being ratified, which is why the process took years to complete, well after votes to unionize occurred.
Workers in Trenton voted to unionize in 2017, and it took four years to get a contract. In Miami, workers unionized in 2015, but needed an additional six years to get a contract — more time than it took America to win World War II, Chockley pointed out.
The company swore the Teamsters would never have a contract. With two contracts now signed, XPO is practically pulling its hair out, he said.
The new contracts secure agreements in Just Cause protections — mandating companies to meet certain requirements before disciplining employees, including a set process for independent arbitration.
The contracts also include Successorship language to protect workers if XPO is ever sold to another company, Chockley said. Retirement with 401K matches is also locked in, he added.
It was a difficult fight, but change was possible thanks to the power of the Teamsters Union, Chockley stated.
He said similar progress is being made on a potential contract for workers in Bakersfield, Calf.