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XPO hit by port strike

LOS ANGELES/LONG BEACH: June 23, 2017. Port and rail drivers working as independent contractors for XPO Cartage, part of XPO Logistics, began a strike this week protesting against unfair labor practices.

The drivers are striking against job misclassification and retaliation, harassment and intimidation after filing claims for wage theft with the California Labor Commissioner's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.

Drivers have picketed the twin ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach, and the Intermodal Rail Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF), when XPO trucks attempt to enter marine terminals and the rail yard.

Teamsters XPO"We are here supporting the drivers in their struggle against this illegal misclassification scheme, which denies them of their rights and forces them to live in poverty," said Fred Potter, a Teamsters Union vice president and director of the union's Port Division.

There are 12,000 drayage drivers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach who move containerized cargo on and off the docks.

The Teamsters claim companies are classifying these workers as independent contractors in order to reduce wages and avoid paying benefits.

According to the union, the California Labor Commissioner has awarded US$1 million to five drivers employed by XPO Logistics; XPO is appealing the decision.

A year long investigation by the USA TODAY Network published earlier this month found that port trucking companies in southern California have spent the past 10 years forcing drivers to finance their own trucks by taking on execessive debt. The newspaper says if a driver quits, the company seizes his truck and keeps the payments; if a driver misses a payment, the company fires him and keeps the truck.

This form of employment has been described as "sharecroppers on wheels" because of a debt peonage or a debt servitude system allegedly created by the misclassification.

The Teamsters say XPO's major drayage customers include Toyota, BMW, Procter and Gamble, and Sony.

Meanwhile Bradley Jacobs, chairman and CEO of XPO Logistics, has won a Glassdoor UK Employees' Choice Award for 2017.

According to a survey by the job site, Jacobs ranks No. 34 out of 50 with 89 percent employee approval "based on the anonymous and voluntary reviews XPO's UK employees shared on Glassdoor throughout the past year". The No.1 choice is Anglia Water and its CEO Peter Simpson, who accrued a 98 percent approval rating.

Robert Hohman, Glassdoor co-founder and CEO said: "We know that CEO approval ratings correlate to overall employee satisfaction and trust in senior leadership, which contributes to long-term employee engagement, ultimately helping an employer's recruiting and retention efforts."

USA Today Network investigation:

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