Truck drivers employed by Australia-based Toll Group at the company’s New Jersey division voted by a margin of nearly 70% to form a union and affiliate with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 469, according to a news release.
The new bargaining unit unites 112 truck drivers, including local drivers that service the Ports of New York and New Jersey, yard jockeys who move trailers within the Toll yard, and long haul drivers. The voting took place over several weeks and concluded with a vote count on Wednesday, July 17, 2013.
“New Jersey Toll drivers refused to buy into the lies and threats that the company told them and voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters,” said Fred Potter, President of Teamsters Local 469 in Hazlet, N.J., and the director of the Teamsters Port Division. “Toll drivers in New Jersey now have the same rights as Toll Group drivers in Los Angeles, who are represented by Teamsters Local 848, and as Australian Toll drivers represented by the Transport Workers Union.”
The effort to form a union at Toll New Jersey came with fierce resistance from the company, which is unionized in Australia, as well as at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The pro-union group Justice for Port Drivers says the New Jersey Toll drivers’ victory comes at a crucial time in a national effort to modernize the port trucking industry. The group claims that as many as 90% of America’s roughly 110,000 port truck drivers are misclassified as “independent contractors rather than employees.
“Port trucking is the broken link in our nation’s logistics supply chain,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters general president.
The U.S. organizing victory comes as talks between the Australian Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) and Toll Group officials have broken down.