In January, the Teamsters Union joined unions from across Europe at a meeting in the United Kingdom to discuss the ongoing challenges they face at global transportation giant, XPO Logistics.
The three-day meeting was hosted by Unite the Union and coordinated by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), was attended by representatives unions from the UK, France, Spain, Denmark and Belgium. Port drivers, warehouse workers, freight drivers and last-mile drivers that work for XPO across the world, shared their experiences dealing with the viciously anti-worker and anti-union company.
“As XPO expands we want to ensure that it is not spreading a race to the bottom, but spreading decent work,” said Diana Holland, ITF Women Transport Workers Chair. “XPO shouldn’t be growing because it is treating people badly.”
Workers across Europe and the United States have been victims of XPO’s various forms of abuse, ranging from sexual harassment, intimidation, wrongful termination and pregnancy discrimination. The representatives from the international unions hope that by joining together in global solidarity, they will be able to force XPO to address these issues.
Roger Deville, a Belgian XPO worker and member of ACVCSC, has seen a shift in XPO’s strategy and attitude toward its workforce despite the strong labor laws in his country.
“In the beginning it was all about the quality, now it’s about the quantity. That is all XPO. It is just a money machine - they don’t respect us, they only need us to make money,” Deville said. “That’s what makes these meetings so important - sharing information, talking to one another, helping one another.”
UGT member and XPO worker Veronica Silveira Olivares, shared the challenges women face in Spain where pregnancy discrimination has plagued the workforce.
“It’s very difficult for women to complain. In Guadalajara they have so many casual workers they don’t renew their contracts,” Olivares said. “We have three active complaints connected to the sacking of pregnant workers. We are hoping we achieve success in the courts.”
The representatives from all the unions – Teamsters, Unite the Union, ACVCSC, UGT, 3F, CFTD and BTB – pledged to work together at the conclusion of the meeting to raise standards at XPO across the world.
“We must work together to fight Bradly Jacobs and his agenda to profit on the backs of XPO workers,” said Greg Chockley, National Campaign Coordinator for the Teamsters Union who co-chaired the meeting at Esher.
Juan Islas, an XPO intermodal driver who works out of the facility in Commerce, Calif. was inspired by the solidarity he saw at the meeting.
“I saw that we have so many similarities and problems everywhere,” Islas said. “We got the information we need to put an end to this and pledged to work together. Teamsters fight, Teamsters win!”