Wednesday, June 01, 2005

California drivers file class action lawsuit against DHL

Three drivers for DHL have filed a class action lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court against the company, challenging the illegal classification of many of its drivers as independent contractors, which has allowed the company to avoid paying overtime wages and to require workers to bankroll the cost of their delivery vehicles, including running costs, and many other expenses.
The Sacramento drivers are among hundreds of DHL workers nationwide who have chosen Teamster union representation in the past several months.
Under California law, employers are required to pay all necessary employee expenses. They are also required to pay non-exempt employees a rate of time-and-a-half for work exceeding eight hours a day and forty hours a week.
“DHL ads say their drivers are 'lean and hungry,' and it's quite literally true,” said Pilar Barton, organizing director for Teamsters Local 150. “DHL drivers average between $7 and $9 per hour with no medical benefits, no retirement and no paid sick leave, vacation or holidays. DHL's business plan to compete with UPS is poverty wages, high turnover, and vicious Union-busting.”
The lawsuit demands payment of back wages and employee expenses going back four years. It is filed as a class action on behalf of all current and former DHL drivers throughout California who were improperly classified as independent contractors.
DHL does not hire its drivers directly, but uses contractor companies to retain them. The lawsuit also names one such contractor, DNM Delivery Solutions, and its owner, Dewey McDaniel.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More deliveries for Teamsters

Workers at a DHL contractor in St. Joseph have voted to form a bargaining unit, the second delivery firm in the region to join a union as part of a nationwide Teamsters effort.
An election May 20 resulted in 15 employees voting in favor of the union and nine voting against the union at Mid-Continent Transport, said Dan Hubbel, assistant regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Overland Park. Thirty-one hourly employees will join Teamsters Local 955.
No objections over the election were filed by Friday, according to Hubbel, and this most likely will mean that the results will be certified.
The owner of Mid-Continent Transport declined to comment.
Cairo Potts, Local 955 business representative, said workers at Mid-Continent were concerned with wages, benefits and seniority.
“They definitely needed this,” he said.
The vote in St. Joseph was the second time this month that area Teamsters officials successfully organized a company making deliveries for DHL, the express-delivery company owned by Deutsche Post. Earlier, more than 30 employees at Great Plains Transportation Inc. in Kansas City voted in favor of joining Teamsters Local 41.
The Teamsters said more than 1,300 U.S. employees at ground-delivery subcontractors for DHL had voted to join the union. The union overall represents about 10,000 DHL workers.
However, the union said nearly 400 workers around the country had lost their jobs after DHL severed their contractor agreements with local delivery firms following the decision to organize. A Teamsters delegation went to Cologne, Germany, earlier this month to meet with German and other union officials over these moves by the U.S. DHL subsidiary. The meetings coincided with Deutsche Post's annual meeting.

Monday, May 30, 2005

ATA: there is a better way to screen hazmat drivers

As of May 31 every hazardous materials hauler, even those who have hauled hazmat loads for as many as 30 years, must undergo a fingerprint-based background check. However, officials at the American Trucking Associations said the program needs “immediate attention.” Full story here............