The Teamsters union filed a request last week with the National Labor Relations Board to hold a unionisation vote for the 250 or so drivers at XPO Logistics Inc. who serve the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Ultimately, the truckers hope to achieve employee status with the company. They say XPO misclassifies them as self-employed contractors, thereby denying them healthcare benefits and higher pay.
Driver Domingo Avalos said: “XPO has 100% control over our work: XPO tells us what time we start, where we go… We have to check in with them hourly. When I arrive, I don’t say, ‘I’m here to pick up or drop off a load from Domingo’s Trucking.’”
US law prohibits independent contractors from unionising, so the union must first convince the NLRB that XPO should legally be considered the drivers’ employer.
“We’re creating a model, a pilot for other drivers across the country to see and be inspired to unionize with the Teamsters,” said the union’s International VP Ron Herrera.
The union says it has signed up most of XPO’s contract drivers. It is hoping the NLRB will schedule an election for mid-February.