Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Woo-hoo! Another Teamster organizing victory in NJ!

Please give a warm welcome to our 112 new brothers and sisters, truck drivers employed by Australia-based Toll Group at the company’s New Jersey division. They voted by a margin of nearly 70 percent to join Teamsters Local 469 in Hazlet. The bargaining unit includes local drivers who service the Ports of New York and New Jersey, hostlers who move trailers within the Toll yard and long-haul drivers.

The effort to form a union at Toll New Jersey came with surprisingly fierce resistance from the company, which is unionized in Australia, as well as at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. After the company hired a union buster, drivers filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The charges filed by the drivers included surveillance, coercion, and making threats. The labor board is investigating the charges.

Fred Schmidt, a Toll driver, said he feels they won their fight for dignity and respect on the job.
As a Teamster, we will now be able to fight for what we have earned without fear of retribution: a fair day's pay for a hard day's work, affordable medical benefits and real retirement security.
Fred Potter, Local 469 president and director of the Teamsters Port division, praised the drivers for refusing to buy the company's lies.
Toll drivers in New Jersey now have the same rights as Toll Group drivers in Los Angeles, who are represented by Teamsters Local 848, and as Australian Toll drivers represented by the Transport Workers Union.
The New Jersey Toll drivers’ victory comes at a crucial time in a national effort to modernize the port trucking industry. As many as 90 percent of America’s roughly 110,000 port truck drivers are misclassified as “independent contractors.” They are paid by the load at a poverty rate set by cargo owners like Walmart and Target.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa called port trucking "the broken link in our nation's supply chain."