Tankhaul drivers—the drivers who transport fuel tanks—have one of the most dangerous and challenging jobs in the trucking industry. Workers in those jobs deserve fair pay and a safe working environment. When 90 workers in Washington state didn’t get what they deserved, they joined the Teamsters.
APP/World Fuel Service drivers voted to join Local 174 in Tukwila, Wash. Despite a strong anti-union campaign by APP, a majority voted in favor of union representation in November.
“Standing in that room during the vote count was probably the best feeling I ever had. The room was full of office higher-ups and their attorneys. As the count went on, I thought, ‘We won this,’” said Tony Inglett, who has worked at APP for 11 years. “We faced this giant, this monolith with billions of dollars at their disposal, and we were ahead of them at every turn.”
“We are excited to welcome our newest members to the Teamsters Local 174 family,” said Dave Jacobsen, Western Region Tankhaul Director and Local 174 Senior Business Agent. “We have waited far too long for this victory. This is a prime example of the success we can have when the local, the division, the Joint Council and the International all work together to organize the unorganized.”
Early in 2016, APP’s parent company, World Fuel Services, started to shift the rising cost of health care onto the employees while at the same time refusing to fairly compensate them for the hazardous work they do every day.
“When I started talking to our guys, I saw the difference in pay rates for all of us. There was something like 68 different pay rates for drivers. Some people get this, some don’t. I’ve been in the industry for about 30 years and I can tell you, people are tired of waiting with their plate in their hands,” Inglett said. “It’s like if I go to a restaurant and the waiter says, ‘I’ll choose for you…maybe you’ll get some gravy on your potatoes, maybe not.’ We wanted to order our own meal.”
Inglett and his co-workers started talking to drivers in other locations and decided to contact the Teamsters union.
“We wanted to speak for ourselves, not just wait to be told what we get. The drivers got to talking after shift because the disrespect shown to us was intolerable,” he said.
“I’m excited about becoming a Teamster because of the better lifestyle that will be there for me and my family,” said APP driver David Storm. “The security and protection that I never had with APP will change once we have a contract and we can’t wait.”
“I’ve got 10 more years of work before retirement. I’d really like to see this industry changed, and better representation is the only thing that’ll make it happen,” Inglett said. “I wish we had done this sooner. We could have been so much better off.”