Teamsters Call on National Express to Respect Workers’ Rights

Teamster school bus drivers and representatives from the United States and Canada recently called on National Express Group (NEX), a large United Kingdom-based multinational corporation, to honor the human rights of its North American transportation workers at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in London.

“We traveled to London to let the company and their shareholders know that National Express is not treating its workers right,” said Linda Aguiar, a 25-year driver with Durham and member of Local 853 in San Leandro, Calif.

The delegation traveled to the United Kingdom over serious concerns about National Express’s negative human rights and labor relations record at its North American subsidiaries, Durham School Services in the U.S. and Stock Transportation in Canada.

“I want this company to be held accountable for everything they do against workers,” said Sebrina Isom, a 27-year school bus driver and member of Local 509 in Cayce, S.C. “Our goal is to have a real workplace rights policy.”

At last year’s annual shareholder meeting, National Express introduced a purported global “Workplace Rights Policy,” which was seemingly prompted by an upsurge in interest among U.S.-based workers to form a union, and was implemented in a bid to preempt criticism of National Express’s questionable labor relations record in the U.S.

The company has been the recipient of National Labor Relations Board complaints and charges that include unlawful terminations, surveillance, retribution and disparate treatment of its employees who supported unions.

The Teamster delegation bravely questioned National Express Chief Executive Dean Finch about worker treatment at his subsidiaries. While Finch avoided answering their questions, the delegation received support and rounds of applause from company shareholders attending the meeting.

“The shareholders really stood up in our defense, which was great. They said they hope to see us next year, and told the board they they’ve got problems in America and need to work it out,” Isom said.

The Teamster delegation from the U.S. and Canada was joined at the meeting by global alliance partners, including UK-based Unite the Union, the Change to Win Federation, the Transport Workers Union and International Transport Workers’ Federation.

“It felt good to know that we were heard by the shareholders, and to know that we are not just standing up for ourselves, but for all bus drivers,” said Rosie Miranda, a Durham driver and member of Local 287 from San Jose, Calif., who spoke at the meeting. “We’re not going away until we get a genuine policy that protects all workers’ rights.”