U.S.-Based Truck Drivers Who Haul Borax For Rio Tinto, and Teamsters, To Attend Rio Tinto’s Annual General Meeting To Demand Enforcement Of Company’s “Supplier Code Of Conduct” In U.S. Supply Chain
London, England, and Port of Los Angeles, CA, USA – On April 4, 2019, a delegation of contract truck drivers who haul borax from the Rio Tinto mines in Boron, CA, to the Port of Los Angeles, together with Teamster leaders and community and faith-based allies, went to Rio Tinto’s Port of Los Angeles-adjacent facility to advise Rio Tinto that a number of the drivers will be attending its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, in London, England. (Click here to watch video of delegation). The drivers, who are employed by Rio Tinto’s contract drayage carrier California Cartage Express, a division of NFI Industries, are attending the meeting with Teamster officials to demand an end to wage theft due to their misclassification as independent contractors (rather than employees) and enforcement of the Rio Tinto’s Supplier Code of Conduct in their U.S. supply chain.
WHO: California (‘Cal’) Cartage Express port truck drivers, Teamster officials
WHAT: Annual General Meeting for Rio Tinto PLC
WHERE: The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE
WHEN: Wednesday, April 10, 2019, starting at 11:00 am (GMT+1)
LIVE WEBCAST: Rio Tinto will be providing a webcast of the meeting at riotinto.com/webcast
Rio Tinto is a global mining company headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The Rio Tinto Boron Mine in Boron, California, is the largest borax mine in the world, producing “nearly half of the world’s supply of refined borate products.” (Source: riotinto.com). Borax, a commonly used mineral, is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. Borate compounds are used to strengthen cellphone, computer, and television LCD screens to keep them from warping under high temperature.
Rio Tinto has a Supplier Code of Conduct that requires that its vendors uphold “fundamental human rights,” including, “Ensuring all work is freely chosen; without the use of forced or compulsory labour; ensuring fair remuneration and work conditions for all workers; promoting humane treatment and preventing harassment and unfair discrimination; and respecting workers’ rights to lawfully and peacefully form or join trade unions of their choosing and to bargain collectively.”
“NFI Industries’ subsidiary California Cartage Express, which hauls borax from the Rio Tinto Boron Mine to the Port of Los Angeles, has a demonstrable track record of violating Rio Tinto’s Code of Conduct,” said Fred Potter, Vice President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Director of the Teamsters Port Division. “The hard-working truck drivers who haul this heavy cargo 150 miles from Boron to the harbor have experienced wage theft due to unlawful misclassification by their employer, Cal Cartage Express as independent contractors rather than employees. The Teamsters Union is committed to making certain that Rio Tinto enforces its Supplier Code of Conduct by committing to doing business only with trucking companies that align with Rio Tinto’s values.”
“The California Labor Commissioner has ruled that Cal Cartage Express has broken the law* by misclassifying us as independent contractors, ruling that Cal Cartage owes me and 13 of my co-workers $4 million.” – Gustavo Villa, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express/NFI Industries.
“I am traveling to Rio Tinto’s shareholder meeting in London and I will be speaking on behalf of my coworkers at NFI’s Cal Cartage Express to demand that Rio Tinto enforce its Supplier Code of Conduct and stop doing business with NFI.” – Jesus Maldonado, Port Truck Driver, Cal Cartage Express.
* California Cartage Express has appealed the decision.