The Teamsters Union has a message for National Express/Durham School Services: Respect us.
In March, the Teamsters were joined by international labor allies to hand-deliver an important letter to their corporate headquarters in Lisle, Ill.
“In light of the continued, egregious nature of the company’s anti-union tactics, the response provided to the Teamsters by [Durham CEO] Matt Ashley does not provide any confidence in a changed position by the company towards a more constructive and positive approach to US labor relations,” according to the letter, signed by: Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President; Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF); and Len McCluskey, General Secretary of UNITE.
“The ITF and our affiliates will now proceed as outlined in the ITF charter and use every legal means necessary to hold National Express accountable for its behaviour, with a broad-based campaign to inform the public about how National Express treats its workers and conducts its business around the world,” the letter states.
The letter notifies NEX of moves that the three parties will be taking jointly in response to the company’s failure to take meaningful steps toward an agreement around the treatment of workers during union elections. The three labor organizations represent NEX workers in North America, the United Kingdom and throughout the company’s global operation.
Pressure on NEX
“National Express is a global company that is charged with one of the greatest responsibilities—transporting our school children and community members safely and securely,” said Jim Glimco, President of Local 777 and the person who delivered the letter to NEX.
“A key element of that work is the professionally trained staff who provide that service across the globe. The Teamsters are concerned about the company’s inconsistent approach to its workers and the unions who represent them, especially in North America,” Glimco said.
Pressure on NEX to respect workers’ rights has been mounting since the ITF and its affiliates formally invoked the ITF charter on responding to corporate violations of workers’ rights against National Express and its North American subsidiaries in May 2016.
One year later the Teamsters’ leadership met with the North American leadership at NEX. At that time, the Teamsters offered concrete suggestions for improved relations, including proposed language on a joint agreement to respect a worker’s rights to choose freely during union elections.
When the two parties reconvened on March 19, 2018, Ashley came unprepared and unwilling to make progress on such an agreement, despite assurances that the company would review and consider the language proposed by the Teamsters.
Coupled with continued vicious, false and misleading anti-union activity by the company, Ashley’s unwillingness to join the Teamsters in a joint commitment has made his position clear.
The Teamsters Union remains hopeful that NEX will take the necessary steps toward a mutually agreed protocol. As stated in their letter, they are ready to re-engage in meaningful negotiations should the company reconsider the position they have taken at this point in time.