Friday, June 16, 2017

US Supply Chain Summit Disrupted by Freight and Logistics Workers Protest

Teamsters Continue to Bait XPO Boss
Shipping News Feature
US – Once again the Teamsters Union has disrupted a public event featuring XPO Logistics billionaire boss, Bradley Jacobs. This week's 3PL & Supply Chain Summit in Chicago saw protestors demanding answers to their accusation's of mistreatment, pay disparity and the management and sustainability of the company. In February JOC Events' 17th Annual TPM Conference in Long Beach, California was disrupted by a similar protest. At that time the freight group stated that 99% of its workforce was non-unionised through choice. Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division said:

“While Jacobs received $20 million mega-equity, got approval for a $110 million stock-bonus plan [Editor's Note This fact is strongly disputed by the company] and has received a 481% bump in pay in recent years, workers are denied affordable health care, have no retirement security and the company is stomping on their federally protected rights to form their union. Workers have demanded a meeting with Jacobs, which is why Teamsters are here today, but Jacobs continues to refuse to meet over serious issues with workers.”

Jacobs has built up XPO, after taking control of 71% of the company’s stock in 2011, by following a policy of acquisition, with seventeen freight companies absorbed in just five years. These include some massive purchases such as Norbert Dentressangle, giving XPO the largest truck fleet in Europe, and Con-Way Inc, second biggest LTL carrier in the US at the time.

The union claims workers at six XPO locations and warehouse workers at one location in the US have formed their union with the Teamsters despite XPO spending ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars’ to dissuade unionisation. The Teamsters say the company commits ‘wage theft’ at the ports by continuing to ‘misclassify’ drivers for which the Courts have awarded drivers millions of dollars. The union fears that the long term plan is to sell the company, following a pattern which it says is Jacobs previous modus operandi.

Jacobs has indeed a remarkable record when it comes to growing companies, having reportedly been involved in over 500 acquisitions in his 38 year career which has ranged from working in the US and UK in the oil trading sector leading on to founding waste management and equipment rental operations, both of which grew through snapping up other businesses.