Workers ‘Face Retaliation, Including Layoffs, For Organizing Unions During’ COVID-19 Pandemic - With Coronavirus Cases ‘Surging’ & As Millions Of Americans Still Unemployed, The Stakes For Union Organizing ‘Have Risen Dramatically’
(SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA) - The Coronavirus Pandemic has fueled Strikes, protests and Union Organizing efforts in response to mass layoffs and concerns of safety protections for Essential Workers around the United States since economic shutdowns began in March 2020.
As Workers try to organize Unions to improve working conditions during the pandemic, employers have engaged in retaliation, including laying off Workers involved in organizing.
Sergio Ceballos, a Truck Driver contracted with XPO Logistics in the San Diego, California area, was banned from a Toyota Supplier Yard on June 29TH, following a demonstration outside the yard.
The Teamsters union opposed the lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and reduced wages during the pandemic.
The Teamsters are trying to Unionize XPO Drivers around the U.S. and fight the classification of Drivers as Independent Contractors.
“I talked to one of the Toyota supervisors and he told me I was banned because they saw me outside of Toyota with those ‘lazy Teamsters,’” said Ceballos. “It’s ‘not fair’ for a Driver working for them for a long time like me.”
Ceballos noted over 95% of Drivers’ contracted work in the area involves work for the Toyota supplier, essentially resulting in a layoff as he has only been able to work other loads once or twice a week.
Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by the Teamsters against the supplier and XPO Logistics - alleging violations of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), including retaliation for Union and other concerted activity, threatening loss of work for participating in Union activity, and surveilling Union activity.
XPO Logistics denied Ceballos’ claims of retaliation, contending he accepted loads since the alleged incident.
The Drivers are independent contractors, responsible for equipping themselves with PPE, according to the XPO spokesperson, but XPO provides Drivers with PPE free of charge and claimed payment rates are regularly reviewed to align with current market conditions.
A Toyota spokesperson added their suppliers are expected to abide by Toyota’s principles: “We are not aware of, nor do we condone, any labor law violations.”
It’s not uncommon for Workers to lose their jobs due to involvement in Union Organizing in the U.S.
According to a December 2019 study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), one out of every five Union Election Campaigns in the U.S. involves a charge that an employer illegally fired a Worker for Union activity.
U.S. firms spend around $340 million annually on consultants for Union avoidance.
With Coronavirus cases surging in many parts of the U.S., and as millions of Americans remain unemployed, the stakes for Union Organizing have risen dramatically.
“What we’ve been seeing under COVID ‘are the same dynamics and same tactics as always, except with everything intensified,’” said Gordon Laufer, a Professor at the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center. “There’s’ both greater intensity in wanting to organize and more intense fear of employer retaliation.’”
To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: https://shadowproof.com/2020/08/04/workers-face-retaliation-including-layoffs-for-organizing-unions-during-covid-19-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR35FftAT3UsW4kmpRJhBuj-_6lL4GDdJk9wQKt0vd3DIzYYIP84RxiTHpU