North America's Strongest Union

Teamsters Look North to Expand FedEx Union Drive

FedEx, already battling large-scale unionization efforts stateside, will have to deal with a national organization campaign by the Teamsters in Canada as well.

According to the Journal of Commerce, the Teamsters is looking  to bring FedEx Canada workers in the express delivery and trucking divisions into the union.

A union spokesman told the JOC that it has dispatched about 50 organizers across Canada to get information to the 2,000 to 3,000 FedEx workers.

"We are confident about organizing workers from this company," Robert Bouvier, president of Teamsters Canada, said in a statement. "The time has come for the employer to respect and treat them fairly."

South of the border, the Teamsters are lobbying Congress to change how the company is governed under federal law, making it easier to unionize. The union is also trying to get FedEx's independent drivers to be recognized as company employees.

In Canada, as Today's Trucking has documented several times over the years, there have been precedent-setting labor decisions which have determined that independent owner operators and temporary agency drivers can be organized and made to be part of a labor union -- even against some workers' wishes.

Interestingly, though, the Teamsters' in the U.S. are backed by FedEx's main competitor, UPS, whose workforce is represented by the same union, nationwide.

Because 80 percent of FedEx's business is airfreight, the company, including its Ground division, operates under the Railway Labor Act (RLA), which requires a majority of votes from all a company’s employees in order for that firm to be unionized.

UPS, instead, is governed by the New Deal-era National Labor Relations Act, which has significantly lower barriers to labor organizing.

After trying unsuccessfully in the 1990s to be reclassified under the RLA (a move that rival FedEx reportedly supported), the Teamsters and Big Brown, with much higher labor costs than its competitor, are lobbying Democrat-controlled Congress to have FedEx's ground operations switched to the National Labor Relations Act as well.

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