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4 Aug 2020

Michael Sainato, Shadowproof

Workers face retaliation, including layoffs, for organizing unions during COVID-19 pandemic

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As workers try to organize unions to improve working conditions during the pandemic, employers have engaged in retaliation, including laying off workers involved in organizing. Sergio Ceballos, a truck driver contracted with XPO Logistics in the San Diego, California area, was banned from a Toyota supplier yard on June 29, following a demonstration outside the yard. The Teamsters union opposed the lack of personal protective equipment and reduced wages during the pandemic... “I talked to one of the Toyota supervisors and he told me I was banned because they saw me outside of Toyota with those ‘lazy Teamsters,’” said Ceballos. “It’s not fair for a driver working for them for a long time like me.”

... Ceballos noted over 95 percent of drivers’ contracted work in the area involves work for the Toyota supplier, essentially resulting in a layoff as he has only been able to work other loads once or twice a week... Unfair labor practice charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) by the Teamsters against the supplier and XPO Logistics alleging violations of the National Labor Relations Act, including retaliation for union and other concerted activity, threatening loss of work for participating in union activity, and surveilling union activity... XPO Logistics denied Ceballos’ claims of retaliation, contending he accepted loads since the alleged incident.