Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As Unions Step Up Pressure on Major Logistics Group so it Begins New Freight Driver Initiatives

Veterans to Get Free Aid to Enter Driving Employment as Complaints Against Company Continue
Shipping News Feature
US – In a month in which XPO Logistics announced a couple of initiatives to drive the business forward, it seems that worker dissatisfaction remains a problem it is having trouble shaking. As we have detailed previously the company has received criticism from unions both at home in the US, and in countries such as France, where it absorbed the freight and road haulage operations of Norbert Dentressangle in 2015.

In the US the Teamsters has been running a campaign attacking the company and now it seems that XPO warehouse workers in Indianapolis, Indiana and XPO freight drivers in Rockaway, New Jersey have filed for Teamster representation. This is the the latest action by workers across the US and adds to a growing number of sites with similar plans with XPO freight workers in Laredo, Texas; Los Angeles; Miami, Florida; Aurora, Ill.; King of Prussia, Pa.; Trenton, N.J. and Cinnaminson, N.J. and warehouse workers in North Haven, Conn. having already joined the Teamsters.

The Indiana workers handle products for Pioneer Seed Corn, the agriculture division of DowDuPont. The union says the workers are seeking fair wages and want to restore paid holidays that were taken away, among other issues. The freight workers are seeking affordable, quality health care, retirement security and respect on the job.

In the meantime the company is to begin a four point plan to optimise its less-than-truckload (LTL) operations. According to a press release earlier this month the company, which claims the title of the second largest LTL carrier in the States, the new plan, named LTL 2.0, is intended to generate an additional $100 million in operating profit over the next two years. Based on a set of new algorithms it also carries an AI component with computerised vision tools to both plan loads and ensure operators process inward pallets, stowing away for the next suitable despatch from the hub.

The algorithms also sequence all collections and adjust routes in real time utilising current road conditions, something which XPO says will reduce delivery times and increase the number of possible drops and collections per hour. The AI will assist the algorithms forecasting future trends based partly on historical data and pricing will also be set accordingly.

In a second initiative the company says it is commencing two, potentially free of charge, driver training programmes to help military veterans and members of the reserve forces into the industry. Many vets have qualifications as HGV drivers from their military days yet lack ‘on the job’ experience, which does not always inspire confidence in would be employers. An accelerated month long course should literally put them on the right road.

In addition another programme will assist any who did not include work in transportation to attain their Class A commercial driver's license (CDL-A). Students with driving experience in the military who participate in the accelerated training program and drive for XPO pay no tuition or other fees for classroom and on-the-road training. The company's 12-week, 240-hour driver training program for other individuals is also free. The programs for military veterans and reservists expand on XPO's commitment to free tuition training at its 114 XPO driver training schools in North America. Meghan Henson chief human resources office of XPO Logistics. Commented:

"We value our veterans and the skills they earned through their military service. We want to help them put that experience to work here at XPO in careers that fit their lifestyle and their goals. XPO is growing, and we're providing opportunities for veterans to grow with us.”