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March 11, 2016 2:05 PM, EST
FedEx Freight Ordered to Bargain With Teamsters at Two Terminals
John Sommers II for TT

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered FedEx Freight to recognize and bargain with Teamster locals at two terminals, siding with a National Labor Relations Board ruling to that effect.

The decision, the latest skirmish in an ongoing union organizing effort at the largest less-than-truckload carrier, covers Local 107 in Philadelphia and Local 71 in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the company sought to overturn an NLRB ruling.

Those terminals are two of four locations where the union has won in balloting among drivers as part of the organizing effort that has also embraced drivers at XPO Logistics’ LTL unit. The union has lost six elections at FedEx Freight, and withdrawn election requests at six terminals, which the company believes is an acknowledgement that the union will lose.

“This [court] decision is a major win for Teamsters at FedEx Freight,” said a statement posted March 8 on the union’s Web site.

FedEx in its court filings contended that drivers and dockworkers at the North Carolina and Pennsylvania terminals both should be included in representation elections because drivers also did some dock work at both facilities. FedEx has contested the Teamsters efforts in multiple steps before the court ruling, including review of decisions on the regional level at NLRB and a challenge to the agency’s certification of the elections.

“We disagree with the ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the scope of the voting units in Croydon, Pa., and Charlotte, N.C., and are considering our options,” FedEx told Transport Topics.

“The drivers and dockworkers are hired to do substantially different jobs,” the court decision said. “Drivers are required to have a commercial driver license. The qualifications to become a dockworker are minimal. Although drivers occasionally work on the dock, their primary role is to transport freight.”

The Teamsters organizing efforts at two of the three largest LTL carriers have been ongoing for two years or more. The union also has met with limited success at the former Con-way Freight unit, where the company has prevailed in a majority of the elections. The union’s latest efforts there included two days of leaflet distribution.

FedEx Freight is part of FedEx Corp., which ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers. Following two acquisitions, XPO is set to become No. 3 on TT’s Top 100. The second largest LTL carrier is YRC Freight, the largest unit of No. 5 YRC Worldwide Inc.