Port of Los Angeles, CA – Port truck drivers from Shippers Transport Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SSA Marine, have designated Teamsters Local 848 as their exclusive bargaining representative and will now begin the process of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with their employer. Prior to January 1, 2015, the drivers were classified as “independent contractors.” In November, all drivers were notified that the company was transitioning to an employee-based business model as of January 1, 2015, and were invited to apply for employee jobs.
“This has been a long struggle and we are grateful that Shippers agreed to remain neutral during our campaign to become Teamsters,” said Mike Acosta, a port truck driver employed by Shippers. “As Teamsters – and professional port truck drivers – we look forward to working with management to move port cargo more efficiently and to modernize the industry.”
“This historic agreement represents an important step in drivers’ efforts to reform the drayage industry, and demonstrates clearly that labor and management can work together constructively to find solutions to challenges facing the industry and to the injustices facing the drivers,” said Fred Potter, Director, International Brotherhood of Teamsters Port Division. “As Teamsters, Shippers drivers will now begin the hard work of negotiating a first contract to assure that they earn a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.”
“Shippers’ transition to an employee-based business model is a crucial step in the drayage industry’s efforts to modernize, make the ports more efficient, and reduce congestion at the ports and on our freeways,” said Kevin Baddeley, General Manager, Shippers Transport Express. “On unionization, we took a neutral position because we respect our drivers’ right to form a union. Finally, through our productive dialogue with the Teamsters, we anticipate we will be able to improve operational efficiencies and stabilize our driver workforce.”
“This is an historic day not just for port truck drivers, but for workers across America,” said Rabbi Jonathan Klein, Executive Director, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. “Too many workers face harassment, intimidation, and retaliation from management for exercising their right to form a union. Respecting drivers’ right to form a union is the moral and just thing to do, as taught by religious traditions.”
About the landmark agreement:
- Effective January 1, 2015, Shippers converted from an independent contractor business model to an employee-based drayage business. (All drivers were notified of the change on November 24, 2014, and were invited to apply for employee jobs by December 8, 2014.)
- Shippers Transport and the Teamsters agreed on a neutral process for unionization, which includes the following provisions:
- Shippers Transport agreed not to interfere in the employees’ decisions regarding unionization;
- Shippers Transport agreed not to use intimidation, threats of reprisal, promise of benefits, or other conduct or speech designed to intimidate or coerce drivers to influence the decision by its employee drivers whether to join or be represented by the Teamsters;
- The Teamsters agreed not to disparage Shippers Transport or disrupt the workplace through strikes, picketing, or other job actions; and
- Shippers Transport agreed to recognize Teamsters Local 848 as the drivers’ official bargaining agent upon verification by a neutral third party that a majority of the drivers have signed valid union authorization cards.
About neutral union elections: “In addition to NLRB-conducted elections, federal law provides employees a second path to choose a representative: They may persuade an employer to voluntarily recognize a union after showing majority support by signed authorization cards or other means. These agreements are made outside the NLRB process. If a union is voluntarily recognized, its status as bargaining representative cannot be challenged during a reasonable period for bargaining.” Source: http://www.nlrb.gov/what-we-do/conduct-elections