A division of trucking giant XPO Logistics has reached a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board over unfair labor practice charges filed by truck drivers at the Port of Savannah.
Without admitting wrongdoing, XPO Drayage Inc. agreed to post an official notice at the company’s Wentworth, Ga., terminal stating that employees have a right to form a union and are protected under the National Labor Relations Act.
Drivers and Teamsters filed a NLRB complaint last June after Ben Speight, a Teamsters organizing director, and two other union organizers were arrested for passing out handbills outside the Georgia terminal.
In its complaint, the Teamsters alleged the police action, which was witnessed by several XPO employees, “intimidated them and prevented them from exercising their Section 7 rights under the NLRA, the right to form a union.”
“This is a tremendous shot in the arm for XPO workers because the NLRB is recognizing their legal right to form a union in their workplace,” said Barb Maynard, spokeswoman for the Teamsters union.
Truckers have asked the NLRB to intervene in a string of cases against XPO in which the drivers say they have become victims of workplace retaliation after they pushed for collective bargaining and improvements in working conditions.
The NLRB, an independent federal agency charged with protecting the rights of private-sector employees, has interceded in some of the cases.
The settlement agreement with the Teamsters comes just a week after XPO Logistics Chief Executive Bradley Jacobs told The Loadstar, a logistics industry news site, that he doesn’t like working with the Teamsters union, which wants to organize XPO drivers across the country.
“I don’t believe in the Teamsters,” Jacobs told The Loadstar.
In recent years, the NLRB has been sympathetic to drivers in retaliation claims associated with unfair labor practices, especially regarding the issue of misclassification of drivers as independent contractors. Contractors are not provided employee protections under the National Labor Relations Act.