Labor Board Files Complaint Against DHL

February 12, 2007

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The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint against DHL on Jan. 30, accusing the company of “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights” to a union-representation election at DHL Express in Wilmington, OH.

The charges are based on allegations made by the APWU in an Unfair Labor Practice filing in November. APWU representatives and activist workers have been trying to organize approximately 3,000 ground workers at the global delivery company’s plant for two years.

The specific complaints in the NLRB filing include a company supervisor telling employees that their wages would be frozen during contract negotiations, that work rules would no longer be flexible if the union won the election, and that a senior manager “threatened an employee with discharge because the employee spoke up during an employee meeting in which the union, and the terms and conditions of employment, were discussed.”

A DHL director of labor relations, the NLRB complaint says, “implied that it would be futile for employees to select the union as their bargaining representative by telling employees there is only so much money for labor costs, and for them to gain in one area, they will have to lose in another.”

DHL operates ABX Air, and the ABX site in Ohio is the main hub for the company’s network of regional sorting operations.

“The campaign to unionize ABX is part of our long-term plan to organize private-sector workers who are increasingly getting a share of postal jobs,” said Mark Dimondstein, the APWU’s lead field organizer.

The APWU organizer said management began a harsh program of intimidation, coercion, and discrimination shortly after the union field office was set up in early 2005. ABX was quick to hire a well-known anti-union “consulting” firm. Shortly after it came on the scene, Dimondstein said, all the workers received a letter from the company’s CEO.

Workers at ABX perform work similar to that performed by APWU members at processing and distribution plants. At their top step, ABX workers earn approximately $6 per hour less than their Postal Service counterparts.

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