Mistreatment of Mine Workers and Driver Misclassification Lawsuit May Jeopardize State and Local Contracts
(PHOENIX) – In letters sent today to the Chief Executive Officer of Vulcan Materials, the nation’s largest supplier of construction aggregates, 38 members of the Arizona State Senate and the Arizona House of Representatives called on Vulcan [NYSE: VMC] to reconsider how the company is treating its workforce in Arizona, including a group of eight mining vehicle operators at the company’s open-pit mines in Sun City and Laveen Village who are represented by Teamsters Local 104.
Vulcan Materials, which currently services roughly 60 contracts with the state, is demanding that the eight drivers accept a contract that would take away their pension, increase monthly health care costs by as much as $464, allow the company to cut hourly wages by $2.60 for some drivers, reduce safety rest periods between shifts, impose an unfair grievance procedure, and take away the drivers’ right to honor picket lines.
The letters signed by every Democratic member of the Arizona Legislature, reads, “We are alarmed that a profitable public company would seek to exploit its workers and force them to agree to such lopsided and unreasonable terms. Your success should not – and need not – come at the expense of working families.”
In addition to state contracts, a range of local governments and private companies in Arizona utilize construction materials produced by Vulcan Materials, including Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County, the City of Phoenix, the City of Tempe, Lennar Corporation [NYSE: LEN – largest homebuilder in the U.S.], PulteGroup [NYSE: PHM – third largest home builder in the U.S.], and MDC Holdings [NYSE: MDC – one of the top 15 home builders in the United States].
“This labor contract has worked for both sides for over 30 years,” said Ryan Proctor, a Business Agent with Teamsters Local 104. “We don’t understand what Vulcan would gain by destroying the lives of eight loyal, long-time workers and risking its reputation as a socially responsible company with local, state and federal officials, national builders like Pulte Homes, and union and non-union contractors in the Mountain West Division and other areas of the country.”
In March, Vulcan truck drivers filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in a Georgia federal district court. The lawsuit claims the company unlawfully misclassified the drivers as independent contractors to avoid its obligations to pay overtime as required by federal labor laws.
“We are investigating the possibility of a similar situation elsewhere in Arizona,” Proctor said. “We don’t know yet, but it appears that Vulcan may be misclassifying about 53 Arizona drivers as independent contractors who work for Mountain West Logistics, a subsidiary of Vulcan Materials.”