XPO Logistics Ports
Truck drivers who want to unionize gather in front of XPO Logistics in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Screen shot, teamsters.org

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has announced that a Southern California firm’s port and rail truck drivers – including personnel in San Diego – have filed for an election to form a union.

The drivers, including those who operate at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, allege that XPO Logistics – a freight transportation company based in Connecticut – misclassifies them as independent contractors, denying them health insurance, paid sick leave, overtime pay and the ability to form a union.

Drivers from XPO’s San Diego facilities are seeking to join Teamsters Local 542 in Grantville.

Last year, the logistics firm settled two class-action lawsuits, paying a total of $30 million to contracted drivers at the ports who said they were paid less than a minimum wage by the company.

XPO Logistics said that it has about 12,000 full-time truck drivers in the U.S., and uses about 360 independent contractors in California. The company also said many of its contractors “prefer the contractor work model, given the flexibility it provides to set their own schedule and choose their own work.

“We believe we adhere to all federal, state and local laws and we believe we properly classify all individuals and businesses that perform work on behalf of XPO,” the company stated.

According to the Teamsters, the drivers claim they should be classified as employees with the right to unionize.

“My fellow drivers and I are proud of the work we do every day to keep the supply chain moving and provide for our communities. Today, we’re proud to take the next step in forming a union to give us a voice on the job and fight for better pay and benefits,” Domingo Avalos, a driver at the XPO facility in Commerce, said in a statement provided by the Teamsters.

“Our company, XPO Logistics, tries to silence us by ignoring our demand for a union and by keeping us misclassified as independent contractors. But when we win our union, we will force XPO to listen – because we know together our voice is more powerful than any big corporation,” Avalos continued.

In addition to the San Diego drivers, personnel from XPO’s Commerce facility are seeking to join Teamsters Local 848, which operates in the greater Los Angeles area. The Teamsters said the drivers are essential links in the U.S. supply chain.

“The Teamsters are proud to stand with brave drivers across California who are coming together to demand the respect, pay and dignity on the job they deserve,” said James P. Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

– City News Service