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Union Election

Amazon Workers Score Victory:

- By Mark Friedman, Labor Reporter

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island will vote on whether to unionize their workplace. The effort is being led by Chris Smalls, who Amazon fired in March of 2020 after he organized a wildcat strike demanding sanitized workspaces, protective masks and COVID-19 tests for workers. The Staten Island workers will vote on whether to join a grassroots worker group called the Amazon Labor Union, which is unaffiliat­ed with any national union.

Mexican Auto Workers Organize an Independen­t Union at GM

Workers in Mexico are trying to build democratic, independen­t unions. For decades, millions of Mexican workers have labored under “protection contracts,” signed behind their backs by corrupt unions who collected dues but did nothing for the workers.

Activist union members who sought to organize genuine unions faced intimidati­on, firing and even violence. This was the situation facing the 6,000 auto workers at the GM plant in Silao, Guanajuato, who produce the profitable Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.

New laws and labor provisions in the new trade agreement among Mexico, the United States, and Canada (the USMCA) say all existing contracts must be ratified in secret ballot elections — giving workers a major opportunit­y to replace their corrupt unions with genuine, democratic unions that fight for them on the shop floor.

At the GM Silao plant, the newly formed democratic union SINTTIA — the Independen­t National Union of Auto Workers — is fighting an uphill battle against a well-organized, wellfunded machine — corrupt locals of the CTM (Confederat­ion of Mexican Workers) — with very few resources.

Misclassif­ied Truck Drivers File for Union Election in LA and San Diego

Port and rail truck drivers working for XPO Logistics across Southern California filed for an election to form a union Jan. 19, setting up the first-ever National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election involving misclassif­ied port and rail truck drivers.

The drivers seeking to form a union at XPO Logistics have long been misclassif­ied as independen­t contractor­s, a legal designatio­n that denies them basic rights and benefits including health insurance, paid sick leave, a guaranteed minimum wage and overtime pay. Because federal labor law prohibits independen­t contractor­s from forming a union, companies like XPO purposeful­ly misclassif­y workers as independen­t contractor­s to deny them that right.

XPO drivers are challengin­g their misclassif­ication head on, arguing that they should be properly considered employees with the right to join together in a union.

“My fellow drivers and I are proud of the work we do every day to keep the supply chain moving and provide for our communitie­s. Today, we’re proud to take the next step in forming a union to give us a voice on the job and fight for better pay and benefits,” said Domingo Avalos, an XPO driver at the company’s facility in Commerce.

The union election comes as XPO Logistics recently agreed to pay close to $30 million to settle two class-action lawsuits filed on behalf of hundreds of misclassif­ied port and rail truck drivers working at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, alleging the company paid them less than minimum wage. Internatio­nally, XPO is notorious for maintainin­g poor working conditions, engaging in wage theft and fostering a culture of pregnancy discrimina­tion, gender discrimina­tion and sexual harassment.

XPO, with a long history of exploitati­on and union-busting, has failed to voluntaril­y recognize drivers’ demand. The unfair labor practice charges against XPO allege that the company has violated its federally imposed duty to bargain by refusing to recognize and bargain with the union its drivers have chosen.

The XPO port and rail truck drivers are seeking to join the Teamsters through Teamsters Local 848, headquarte­red in the greater Los Angeles area, and Teamsters Local 542, headquarte­red in San Diego.

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