TWU demands fair election for Toll's US drivers

TWU keeps pressure on Toll over its US operation, demanding it rule out "dirty tricks" against truckies voting to unionise

February 7, 2012

The Transport Workers Union is continuing to put the heat on Toll over its actions abroad, demanding it permit fast and fair elections for US truck drivers wanting to unionise.

Employees at Toll’s Los Angeles operation have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a vote on whether the Teamsters should bargain on drivers' behalf.

The Teamsters recently claimed Toll would instigate a range of measures to delay a vote, but TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon wants a commitment there will be "no dirty tricks or underhand pressures on workers".

"An overwhelming majority of the 74 drivers at the LA site have signed a petition to demand a vote on union recognition," he says.

"Toll does not need to resort to the union-busting tactics so prevalent in the US and so out of tune with Australia’s belief in a fair go for everyone."

Sheldon says the TWU is planning to send a number of its members to the US to act as observers "to ensure that elections are free and fair".

While saying Toll has developed a reputation as one of the best transport companies in Australia to work for, Sheldon adds that US drivers make do with unsanitary conditions and facilities.

The Director of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco University, Professor John Logan, says there are serious problems with voting procedures, which the NLRB is trying to address.

He says union avoidance firms advise companies to delay votes to undermine employee support for unions.

In an interview with US current affairs magazine The Nation, he said: "Employers have exclusive access to employees at the workplace, and use this access to force them to attend mandatory captive audience meetings."

"Supervisors who refuse to campaign against the union can be fired. Corporations frequently employ union avoidance specialists to convey their anti-union message."

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