Members of British Parliament Hear Testimony on Human Rights Violations
by UK-Based National Express Group and Its Subsidiaries
WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters who work at
National Express Corporation (NEC), the North American subsidiary of UK-based
National Express Group, testified today in front of members of the British
Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights, sharing their stories of human
and workers' rights abuses by the company in the United States and Canada.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights is considering human rights issues in
the United Kingdom including the manner in which British businesses' actions
can affect those rights positively and negatively at home and overseas.
The committee is comprised of 12 members of Parliament appointed from the
both the House of Commons and House of Lords. The Teamsters Union hosted the
hearing which was attended by four members of the committee including Chairman
and Member of Parliament Andrew Dismore.
"Our union supports the Joint Committee on Human Rights' mission to
protect workers' human rights at global corporations. We believe that a
worker's right to organize free from intimidation and interference from their
employer should be a fundamental, inalienable right of all workers," said
Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa. "I am grateful to the members of
Parliament that have agreed to hear the testimony of workers from National
Express Corporation who have been the target of aggressive anti-union tactics
by their employer. Global companies must be held accountable for these
NEC is made up of Durham School Services in the United States and Stock
Transportation in Canada. Workers at Durham in Elgin, Illinois and at Stock
Transportation in Kingston, Ontario,
Canada successfully joined the Teamsters Union, but not before enduring
calculated and aggressive anti-union campaigns that included captive audience
meetings, employer-produced anti-union materials that were distributed in the
workplace and intimidation by members of management.
"There were some real problems with working conditions, pay and benefits
and human rights policies at our yard," said Roy Willis, a Stock
Transportation driver in Kingston, Ontario, Canada and member of Teamsters
Local 91. "My fellow workers and I felt we needed to take action to improve
the situation by joining the Teamsters. Management immediately began casting
the union as the bad guy -- they claimed we would lose our benefits and have
to pay dues while the union made promises they couldn't keep."
Willis' testimony was very similar to Kim Wrightson, a driver at a Durham
yard in Elgin, Illinois that organized with the Teamsters in January 2009.
"We wanted to organize because of a number of problems in the workplace
but Durham didn't want to give up their power and fought us," Wrightson said.
"They didn't want to just let us make up our own minds about organizing but
instead they threatened us, intimidated us and forced us to listen to their
company propaganda almost daily."
The workers are part of the Drive Up Standards campaign -- a joint
initiative between the Transport and General Workers Union of Unite the Union
in the United Kingdom and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in the
United States and Canada. Drive Up Standards' mission is to ensure that
employees of multinational transport companies are treated with respect and
dignity in regard to their human rights.
This cooperative effort was the key to a successful effort to organize
more than 18,500 school bus workers over the past three years at First
Student, the American subsidiary of the British transportation company
FirstGroup. During early campaign efforts, First Student workers attempting to
organize their yards reported widespread activity by management that violated
workers' freedom of association. It was only after bringing these issues to
the attention of the parent company, FirstGroup, that First Student adopted a
company-wide freedom of association policy.
"It is our hope that raising awareness of these practices with the
committee will help open the lines of communication with the corporate leaders
at National Express Group so they can, like their counterparts at FirstGroup,
stop the anti-union behavior that has run rampant through their North American
subsidiary and has violated workers' freedom of association," Hoffa said.
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents more than 1.4 million
hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
For further information:
For further information: Galen Munroe of International Brotherhood of
Teamsters, +1-202-624-6911, email@example.com Web Site: