By Doug Cunningham
Port and freight drivers joined union leaders from the U.S. and Europe Wednesday calling on XPO Logistics to address serious labor issues. They came to the XPO shareholders meeting in Greenwich Connecticut to enter the meting ad request a meeting with XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs. The Teamsters say "XPO port and rail drivers are fighting company wage theft in excess of $200 million because of persistent misclassification as independent contractors." The Teamsters' Fred Potter
[Fred Potter]: "They label 'em as independent contractors but there's nothing independent about 'em. XPO has lost every case. And every investigation by any governmental agency, any court case, they have lost every one of 'em and found that the workers are mis-classified. There have been a number of strikes in Los Angeles and San Diego because the workers are standing up for their rights and the company's violated the National Labor Relations Act. So we ask the company to address these issues and address the concerns of the employees to recognize their right to join or form a union."
Miami XPO driver Juan Cepero says XPO is also using sub-contractors to take work from full-time XPO workers.
[Juan Cepero]: "The company or management keeps doin' the same thing over and over. They keep hiring sub-contractors and basically taking our food away."
Thierry Mayer is a French XPO driver and member of the CGT union.
[Thierry Mayer (through an interpreter)] :"Unfortunately it appears that financial interests trump human interests in this company. It's apparent that human concerns are not the priority of the company and our goal is to reverse that tendency within the company. The human values must come before the value of capital."
The drivers and union leaders say a new family has been created globally among unions at XPO to convince the company to honor labor rights.
Ross Edwin Mason is an XPO driver and member of the uinion Unite in the U.K.
[Ross Edwin Mason]: "I'm here today to not only show solidarity to my colleagues from Europe, but also my Teamster friends in America. And what did I get out of today? I guess I got out of today, I realized that it is proibably day one of the fight to make XPO understand that they cannot divide us into France , Belgium, USA, whereever. If they're gonna deal wit hthe unions, they're gonna have to deal with us as a global union. They want to be a great global company. Well they've gotta understand that we're not going top put up with being divided."