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FedEx Freight Workers in California Vote to Keep Union

April 26, 2019, 6:35 PM

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters will maintain a foothold at FedEx Corp. after drivers at a FedEx Freight facility in Stockton, Calif., voted to continue membership in the union.

The final tally was 31votes for the union and 16 votes against. The result will become final when the National Labor Relations Board certifies the election in the next few weeks.

The 50 drivers at the Stockton warehouse are the only remaining unionized FedEx Freight workers in the country, according to the company.

Teamsters Local 439 President Robert Nicewonger cited the strength of the members’ commitment. “The members are extremely strong and they have been for quite some time, naturally,” he said. “I mean this is the only location that’s still union, so they’re fairly self-sufficient.”

A FedEx spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for comment after the vote, but beforehand, said the company welcomed the election.

“While FedEx Freight respects the right of our team members to decide for themselves if they want to be part of a union, we are pleased with this development and continue to believe that our thriving, competitive work environment provides a more flexible, team-oriented and customer-focused work model than the union can offer,” company spokesman Jonathan Lyons said in a statement.

The election offers some relief for the Teamsters after the union failed to fend off two prior FedEx Freight decertifications in Pennsylvania and North Carolina in 2017.

The Teamsters represent about 250,000 UPS package workers as well as nearly 11,000 UPS Freight employees. But the union has faced substantial difficulty organizing FedEx workers.

It’s Not Over Yet

The Teamsters may have fended off this decertification, but if history is any guide, another may be coming soon.

“In both of FedEx’s other unionized workplaces, the decertification attempts succeeded on the second try, not the first,” Bloomberg Law analyst Robert Combs said. “Petitions filed at both locations in 2016 went nowhere. It was only when new petitions were filed in 2017 that drivers gained enough traction to reject representation. So the Teamsters union isn’t out of the woods yet.”

Federal labor law prohibits another decertification election from taking place at the facility for a year.

The Teamsters have faced 215 decertification petitions in the past five years, far more than any other union, according to Bloomberg Law data. And its win rate is 27 percent, the worst among the 10 most active unions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Wallender in Washington at awallender@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com; Cathleen O'Connor Schoultz at cschoultz@bloomberglaw.com

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