Drivers Seek Better Benefits, Strong Retirement, Fair Work Rules
The fight and long-term Teamster commitment to organize workers at FedEx Freight and to win first contracts moves forward, and the drivers are committed to keeping up the pressure in their quest for justice at their workplace.
“The main thing we’re fighting is corporate greed,” said Mel Mendieta, who has worked as a city driver at FedEx Freight for more than 25 years. “The company was cutting our benefits and our retirement security is lousy. We needed to form our union to gain our voice and help rebuild the middle class.”
In 2015, Mendieta and 49 of his co-workers voted to join Local 439 in Stockton, Calif. Like FedEx Freight workers who also made Teamster history by voting to join the union at three other locations, they are remaining positive and fighting to win their first contract. The contract fight is now in court and with the NLRB.
The Teamsters are making progress at both FedEx Freight and at Con-way Freight, with organizing, firstever national days of action at both companies, nationwide engagement and interaction with the workers and the bargaining process that’s under way. The union has also filed unfair labor practices charges, is involved with federal court cases, is building nationwide activist committees, is conducting freight member organizing trainings, launching shareholder resolutions and other ongoing steps.
A Long-Term Effort
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the campaigns to build Teamster power at FedEx Freight and Con-way are not sprints, they are marathons,” said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “We are committed long-term to this fight so that FedEx Freight and Con-way workers will have an opportunity to enjoy a more secure future as Teamsters.”
Carter Marshall, a road driver at FedEx Freight near Chicago, said he wants to form a union with the Teamsters so that he and his co-workers can fight for better health care and retirement, and consistent work rules.
“The work rules are constantly changing and you don’t know from one day to the next what you need to do,” Marshall said. “It makes the job very difficult.”
In Charlotte, N.C. where FedEx Freight workers joined Local 71, they are also in court trying to get the company to bargain fairly for a contract.
“We’re dropping anchor and getting ready for the long-term fight,” said Patrick Harrington, a road driver at FedEx Freight in Charlotte. “We appreciate all the support from Teamster freight members.”
Although workers don’t yet have a contract, Harrington said conditions have improved dramatically.
“We have more job security in Charlotte since forming our union,” he said. “It’s a night and day difference. I’m ecstatic. We’re getting stronger.”
The Teamsters’ campaign has already raised standards for workers at both companies. For example, Con-way has spent more than $60 million on pay raises since the campaign began, in addition to the big money it has spent on union busting.
FedEx Freight raised wages at some facilities by as much as $4 per hour and almost 10 cents a mile in compensation, which includes a company-first 90-cent across-the-board increase last October. It has also held the employees’ costs for health care static for the first time in more than a decade. The union estimates that the company has spent nearly $300 million this past year on pay raises, benefits and union busting tactics.
Raising standards in the freight industry through the Teamsters’ efforts is an important factor which helps the FedEx Freight and Con-way workers directly. The union’s efforts also indirectly help all freight industry workers, including our Teamster freight membership.
Mendieta said he hopes other FedEx Freight workers will research how the company’s corporate greed is hurting them. “The company is full of spin and deception,” he said.
Workers are not giving up and they appreciate the support that Teamsters are providing. “
Our fight will continue,” he said. “It’s an uphill battle but there’s strength in numbers.”
Click Here To Read More About the FedEx Freight and XPO/Conway Organizing Campaigns
FedEx Conway Leader Article.pdf