September 24, 2014: One hundred thirteen Con-way workers at the Laredo Texas terminal voted to join Teamster Local 657 on Sept 11. It’s a first-time win for our union.
The same month, Southern California Joint Council 42 filed for organizing elections at three Con-way terminals, in Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs, and San Fernando.
And, Philadelphia Local 107 filed for organizing elections at FedEx Freight.
Is this the start of movement to organize in freight and trucking? We hope so! It’s certainly a good first step, and it should spread. But there are serious challenges.
FedEx and Con-way are national trucking outfits and corporate giants. They will have nationally coordinated efforts to resist and discourage organizing—including trying to retaliate against terminals that vote for the union.
The IBT has to be fully prepared to support local union efforts. When Columbus Local 413 and other locals started organizing at Conway in 2011-12, the International dropped the ball.
This time around, as locals take the initiative, the IBT organizing department needs to be on call with ready resources and personnel. No local union’s resources can compare to the International Union. Local unions and freight workers are stepping up to take action. The IBT needs to get behind this movement and help drive it to victory.
“It’s great that we’re finally making some gains in organizing FedEx Freight and Con-way. It’s a long time coming. But if we’re going to win on a wide scale, we need to shore up Teamster pride in freight. That starts with much better contract enforcement.”
Troy Justus, ABF
Local 413, Columbus, Ohio