FedEx Freight Drivers at N.J. Terminal Vote to Join Teamsters

FedEx Freight Drivers at N.J. Terminal Vote to Join Teamsters
Vote Marks Only the Second Time a Group of the Company’s Drivers Have Chosen to Join a Union
Oct. 31, 2014 10:34 p.m. ET

A group of FedEx Freight drivers voted Friday to join a local Teamsters union, marking only the second time a group of the company’s U.S. drivers has done so, increasing pressure on the delivery giant.
The drivers, who work at FedEx Freight’s South Brunswick, N.J., terminal, voted 66-42 in favor of joining Local 701, according to the union.
The drivers are seeking job security and improved benefits, according to the Teamsters. After organizing started, FedEx increased wages by 80 cents an hour and scrapped a driver scorecard, the union added.
FedEx is “offering pay raises and other improvements at the same time we are organizing, but the workers know that these things can be taken away just as quickly without a legally binding contract,” said Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters’ freight division.
In a statement, FedEx said the results affect only the drivers based at that location. “It’s business as usual at FedEx Freight,” the company said, adding it is considering its options, including challenging the vote.
The New Jersey group is the second to unionize, after a group of 47 drivers in Philadelphia chose to do so earlier in October. FedEx has said it would challenge the results of that election.
Analysts have said that further votes in favor of unionizing could become a concern, in large part because FedEx benefits from lower labor costs in comparison to unionized rivals, including United Parcel Service Inc. On Friday, Deutsche Bank analysts said that a yes vote could put pressure on FedEx shares when markets open on Monday.
On Thursday, FedEx won a victory as the union withdrew a second vote scheduled for Friday night at the company’s Middletown, Pa., facility, something FedEx attributed to a lack of employee support. At least another five votes are scheduled at FedEx Freight facilities in the coming weeks, including Indianapolis and Nashville, according to the Deutsche Bank analysts.
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