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Teamsters Union looking to organize FedEx employees

09.18.14

SEPTEMBER 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union looking to organize FedEx employees

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union in Washington DC have began to attempt to organize FedEx ground employees by conducting a national campaign to gain enough signatures of workers to petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct an representation election.

According to information provided by the IBT to the newspaper, there is no time-table to file a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if FedEx Ground employees want to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Also, the IBT has not yet determined if a national campaign will be conducted or individual regional local unions of the IBT that have a FedEx facility in their jurisdiction will petition the NLRB and conduct the election with the employees being represented by the local union rather than under a master agreement, such as the United Parcel Service (UPS) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or the National Freight Agreement which covers the unionized truckers and other workers.

FedEx is a competitor of UPS, which employees are represented by the IBT. The Union represents all drivers and warehouse workers. Also, the IBT has a separate CBA with UPS for their drivers of UPS Freight company, which was once called the Overnite Trucking Company. Overnite was once the largest nonunion trucking company in the nation.

The majority of FedEx workers are nonunion. The pilots of the company voted to be represented by the Airline Pilots Association (APA) International Union several years ago.

Meanwhile, a recent court ruling in California could make it easier for the IBT to attempt to organize the FedEx Ground workers.

On August 27th, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that 2,300 individuals working for the company was misclassified as independent contractors instead of employees of FedEx. As a result of the ruling FedEx may owe the drivers hundreds of millions of dollars for illegally shirting to them the costs of such things as the FedEx branded trucks, uniforms, and scanners, as well as missed meal and rest period pay, overtime compensation, and penalties.

The court’s decision is the most recent in a series of cases that have proven the FedEx Grounds independent contractor model is built on the legal fiction that drivers of the company are in business for themselves.