Drivers Deliver Petition to XPO Board Calling for Restoration of Pay Rates, Improved Safety Procedures and PPE
Intermodal truck drivers employed by XPO Logistics demonstrated outside of the XPO yard in San Diego yesterday after the company slashed drivers’ pay per load and after months of XPO failing to enforce key safety procedures or provide drivers with proper PPE amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Drivers also participated in another demonstration outside of the San Diego Toyota facility, as Toyota is the main XPO customer in the region.
Drivers delivered a petition to elected officials and the boards of XPO and Toyota, laying out demands for the pay and protections they deserve in the midst of a global pandemic, including a restoration of pay rates, compensation for waiting time and proper PPE.
“You have lowered our pay per load, which adds up to $2,000 less per month, and you are forcing us to give you two full hours of our time for ‘free’ before you pay us for our time spent waiting during our workday delivering your containers,” the petition reads. “We have already lost one coworker to this deadly virus. How many more will it take until you fulfill your responsibility to keep us, your drivers, safe and healthy?”
According to firsthand worker accounts, there have been coronavirus-related deaths among XPO workers, increasing health and safety concerns and a lack of consistency of implementation and effectiveness in the company’s COVID-19 response.
Last month, the Teamsters sent a letter to investors urging shareholders to vote against the “excessive” pay given to the company’s CEO, Bradley Jacobs, who received a mega-equity award of over $25 million. The stark pay gap between frontline workers and XPO management is not new for the company, with XPO having been on the defense of numerous class-action lawsuits related to employee wages and misclassification of workers over the last decade. However, amid the coronavirus outbreak, workers are ramping up calls on XPO to protect them and their essential work, as coworkers test positive and fall severely ill from the virus at increasing rates.
Workers have raised concerns about a lack of PPE, gloves, and sanitizing wipes for misclassified drivers; paid sick leave for workers; no access to health insurance or free COVID-19 testing; and insufficient information around workplaces protections and safety measures to prevent the virus. Additionally, some misclassified intermodal drivers have reported that if they get sick, their contracts are terminated and they are fired, while others’ loads have significantly decreased with their work schedules being cut down to one day a week.
The full text of the petition is below:
We, the undersigned, are your truck drivers at XPO Logistics Cartage. We have worked hard for years to build up your company and provide for our families. Now, during this global pandemic, we are risking our lives every day to keep the containers moving for your company.
Yet rather than treat us as the essential workers we are, XPO continues to deny us the basic rights and protections that we and our families need to survive this crisis. Instead, you have lowered our pay per load, which adds up to $2,000 less per month, and you are forcing us to give you two full hours of our time for “free” before you pay us for our time spent waiting during our workday delivering your containers. Meanwhile, we are forced to work in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. You do not provide us with any paid sick leave or other benefits so that we can stay at home if we or our family members are sick, despite federal, state, and local laws requiring that you provide us with these benefits, which are even more crucial during this pandemic. The courts and government agencies have said we are entitled to rights as employees, but you continue to deny us the rights and benefits we need to stay safe and provide for our families.
Now, XPO and Toyota are checking our temperatures at work, but neither is making sure we have the protections we need to stay healthy. We have already lost one coworker to this deadly virus. How many more will it take until you fulfill your responsibility to keep us, your drivers, safe and healthy?
Therefore, we demand the pay and protections that we deserve during this crisis, specifically:
- Immediately restore our pay to what it was before you reduced it in April.
- Start paying us for every hour of waiting time.
- Provide us with face masks, gloves, clean bathrooms with soap so that we can wash our hands at the yard, and with hand sanitizer so that we can wash our hands when we are out on the job.
- Provide hand sanitizer in the office and sanitize the computers every time someone uses them.
- Immediately stop denying us our full employee rights, including health insurance, unemployment insurance, state disability insurance, and paid sick days.