As Bradley Jacobs CEO of XPO Logistics delivered his keynote speech to a conference on global logistics being held in Long Beach, California, he could faintly hear his name being called.
The faint voice grew louder, and as it turns out, it wasn’t a single voice; instead, it was the united voice of 100 Teamsters and their supporters, who had marched into the hotel lobby where the conference was being held chanting, “Bradley Jacobs you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”
Some of the members of the group chanting in the hotel lobby were XPO workers who voted to join the Teamsters in union representation elections. Even though XPO workers voted to unionize in a number of election overseen by the US National Labor Relations Board, Jacobs and XPO’s executive management refuse to meet and bargain with the new Teamster members.
The new union workers at XPO say that they unionized because of low pay and the lack of benefits.
“XPO’s Board of Directors just authorized a $110 million stock bonus plan for Bradley Jacobs. Meanwhile, my coworkers and I package and distribute parts for military helicopters to governments all over the world, yet at $12 an hour we can’t support our families without government assistance,” said Monica Abraham, an XPO warehouse worker in New Haven, Connecticut.
Instead of listening to the workers’ grievances, Jacobs ignored them and tried to block their attempts to unionize.
“When we raised concerns with management we were ignored, so we decided to organize,” said Ryan Janota, a freight driver at XPO in Aurora, Illinois. “Instead of respecting our rights, XPO spent a fortune on high-priced union-busting consultants to try and silence us. It didn’t work and we elected to join the Teamsters so Bradley Jacobs will have to listen!”
New XPO Teamster members were joined in the hotel lobby by shorthaul truck drivers at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. They work for XPO, but, according to the workers, the company misclassifies them as independent contractors.
“Because XPO treats us like employees but pays us as ‘independent contractors’ and deducts their truck expenses from our paychecks, there are many weeks when we don’t even earn the minimum wage,” said Luis Meza, an XPO shorthaul driver. “This is abuse and that’s why my co-workers and I have filed lawsuits against XPO.”
The drivers’ suit alleges that XPO has committed wage theft by misclassifying them as independent contractors.
XPO workers and other Teamsters were joined in the hotel lobby by members of Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, a faith-based social justice organization and the Los Alliance for a New Economy.
William Carr, a Catholic priest from Los Angeles spoke to Jacobs from the hotel lobby over a bullhorn.
“The Church teaches that worker rights are God-given rights,” said Carr. “These workers are here today demanding to speak to you Bradley Jacobs. You have repeatedly refused to meet with them. You must stop interfering with and begin respecting the XPO workers’ federally protected right to organize a union. This is a God-given right.”
“What you’re doing is immoral,” said another clergy member who didn’t give his name. “Listen to your workers.”