(BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND) – Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa led a powerful delegation of Teamsters, including North American school bus workers, in calling on the National Express Group PLC (NEX: LN) Board of Directors to address the company’s poor worker rights record at its North American subsidiaries. The delegation brought these concerns to the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) of shareholders today in Birmingham, England. View photos from the event, here.
The Teamsters delegation joined forces with British union Unite, the International Transport Federation and British National Express workers, as they raised serious issues with the company’s worker rights policies and practices at its North American subsidiaries, Durham School Services in the U.S. and Stock Transportation in Canada.
The Teamsters Union and major shareholders sponsored a shareholder resolution to improve oversight of the company’s worker rights practices at the AGM. Major proxy advisors also recommended that shareholders vote against increasing CEO pay, reflecting growing discontent with the Board’s oversight of management.
“National Express is waging war on workers who want to exercise their basic human right to form a union,” Hoffa said. “North American management harasses and intimidates workers and takes shortcuts on safety and working conditions. The men and women who transport our children deserve better. I urge the National Express Board of Directors to improve oversight of this company’s operations.”
“It’s outrageous for National Express to have one standard for workers here and to employ the opposite in the U.S.,” said Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union. “An attack on Teamsters is an attack on Unite.”
“This is a business that has tremendous opportunity. Instead, management would rather wage a relentless anti-union campaign that divides its work force, causes costly high turnover and puts safety at risk. We will continue to raise these issues until workers at this company are respected by management,” said Rick Middleton, International Vice President and Chair of the Teamsters’ Drive Up Standards campaign to improve working conditions for school bus and transit workers.
School bus drivers and monitors who work for Durham in Illinois, Florida and South Carolina, spoke about their experiences working for the company.
“I drive children with special needs. This winter, many of us did not have heat on our Durham buses. It was so cold that I bought blankets for the children to stay warm. A multi-million dollar, multinational company should not treat its workers or the children we transport this way,” said Patricia Chillis, a Durham driver in Aurora, Ill.
The Teamsters Union, a group of United Kingdom local authority pension funds—Greater Manchester, London Borough of Islington and Nottinghamshire County Council—and more than 100 individual investors sponsored Resolution 22. The resolution calls on the National Express Board of Directors to improve Board oversight of human capital management, and finally address systemic and longstanding issues with how management treats its workers in North America. Resolution 22 is believed to be the only shareholder resolution filed at a British company this year, and the first shareholder requisitioned resolution to be presented at a National Express AGM – an indication of the growing frustration with the National Express Board of Directors among shareholders.
The Teamsters Drive Up Standards campaign to improve safety, service and work standards in the private school bus and transit industry began in 2006. Since then, more than 36,500 North American school bus and transit workers have become Teamsters.
For more information on Resolution 22, visit www.busfair.org.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.