A California federal judge issued preliminary approval for two settlements totaling nearly $30 million, the largest known settlement in a Southern California misclassification case
XPO misclassified close to 800 of its current and former port drivers, failing to reimburse them for truck costs or pay the minimum wage
(LOS ANGELES) – Today, in a significant victory for working people, 784 current and former first-seat port drivers working for XPO Logistics are set to receive nearly $30 million in settlement of their class-action lawsuits alleging that they were willfully misclassified, left unreimbursed for truck costs and received less than minimum wage, after a California federal judge granted preliminary approval of two settlements, one between XPO Cartage and its drivers, and the other between XPO Port Services and its drivers. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters in the U.S. and members of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) led XPO Global Union Network have long exposed XPO’s mistreatment of its employees and fought to increase protections for these workers. The XPO Global Family of unions applauds these courageous workers and the preliminary approval of these two settlements brought about through the cutting-edge legal work of the Bush Gottlieb law firm and their co-counsel.
These port drivers haul all types of goods that are imported, including electronics, clothing, furniture, food, and they haul it for major retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Apple, IKEA, Toyota and thousands of other companies.
“Today, we commend these brave XPO drivers, who decided not to back down and instead fought hard to demand that XPO pay them the money they were rightfully owed,” said James P. Hoffa, General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.“This is more than a monumental victory for these XPO drivers in California; it’s a huge win for workers around the world to see that by standing together, working people can take on enormous companies and win.
“XPO Logistics and its CEO Bradley Jacobs are globally recognized for their commitment to corporate greed. These settlements are yet another example of how far XPO Logistics will go to line the pockets of Bradley Jacobs and his cronies while refusing to provide even basic protections for its employees.
As headlined in the New York Times and in an available global unions’ report on XPO, “Warehouse workers at XPO have miscarried on the job, been subject to pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment with little to no repercussions for their offenders, and in Europe, some drivers were forced to live out of their trucks for months on end. In California, XPO misclassified its drayage drivers, denying them even the most basic federally mandated safety net protections provided to essential workers during the pandemic. The number of despicable violations this company has committed or allowed its workers to face is astronomical.
“I commend the 784 brave drivers in California who chose not to let a multi-billion dollar company stand in their way. As a union, the Teamsters remain committed to supporting XPO workers in the United States and internationally in their fight to demand better from a company with an appalling reputation for worker mistreatment and global greed. In recent weeks, there have been numerous stories about a port trucker shortage. If XPO and other companies didn’t misclassify and steal these workers’ wages, there wouldn’t be a shortage of drivers.”
While this settlement does not eliminate XPO’s ability to misclassify its workers, it does illustrate the enormity of the company’s continued liability for misclassification. Due to recently passed legislation in California, XPO’s customers are also potentially liable for future violations by XPO. That liability could total hundreds of millions of dollars, leaving workers at risk of losing their jobs and decreasing shareholders’ return on their investments.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Vice President of the Western Region and Director of the Teamsters Port Division, Ron Herrera, has worked closely with port truck drivers in the Los Angeles area to secure numerous worker protections. He acknowledges that this should be a wake-up call for companies willfully opting to misclassify their workers: this abusive practice is running out of time.
“Misclassification of workers is all too common in the ports of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas, and while XPO is notorious for doing this, there are far too many employers still cheating workers out of the pay and the rights they deserve,” Herrera said. “Today’s victory makes clear to other misclassified drivers that the days of misclassification are coming to an end. To employers, these settlements should serve as a clear reminder that depriving workers of their wages or failing to provide them with essential job protections is unacceptable, and they will be held accountable.
“I’m extremely proud to know some of the drivers who finally will receive the pay they deserve. What’s frustrating is all these workers had to go through just to try to provide for themselves and their families, all while XPO did whatever it could to avoid paying them a livable wage and providing them with basic protections. However, their day has come, and I couldn’t be happier for them and their families. The Teamsters will continue to fight in support of these XPO drivers and their efforts to be reclassified as employees, and our union will do what it takes to eliminate misclassification so that it’s no longer a reality in California’s ports.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.