In a historic first, dock associates at FedEx Freight in Surrey, British Columbia have joined Teamsters Local 31. Read Teamsters Canada press release, here.
It’s a North American first for these workers at FedEx. Before this victory, the only unionized FedEx employees were the company’s U.S.-based pilots.
“We are tremendously excited to welcome the FedEx Freight workers into the Teamsters, and we hope this is the first of many victories at this company,” said Stan Hennessy, President of Delta, British Columbia-based Local 31, who is also an International Union Vice President. “We will now work hard to negotiate a strong first contract.”
FedEx Freight workers in Delanco, New Jersey will be voting on October 10 in their Teamsters election, and numerous Teamster local unions in the United States have filed for elections at FedEx Freight.
“We are seeing workers at FedEx Freight across North America saying they want their wages, benefits and working conditions negotiated in a legally binding union contract,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “They are turning to the Teamsters for help and we will be there for them.”
The workers in British Columbia are seeking improved benefits, fair wages and a pension.
“Most of these new members only work 20 hours a week. How are they supposed to improve their quality of life?” said Stan Hennessy. “They have had enough of living without the slightest safety net!”
Local 31 collected cards from a majority of the 14 workers in the bargaining unit, then submitted an application on June 4, 2014 to represent the workers with the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
Local 31 was certified as the bargaining representative on September 15, 2014.
“The company sent representatives from other cities to the warehouse to meet with workers in group settings and one-on-one to dissuade them from supporting the union, but the workers remained united in their support to become Teamsters,” said Ben Hennessey, Local 31 organizer.
Ben Hennessy said the victory was a group effort. He thanked Local 31 President Stan Hennessy, Teamsters Canada Organizer Grant Coleman and Local 31 Business Agent Mike Hennessy, as well as the local’s staff members, for helping with the victory.
Local 31 will look into organizing other workers at the warehouse, which opened in 2012.