IAM News


Fri. September 04, 2009


Prescription For Federal Express Workers

FedEx contractor-drivers have filed 40 lawsuits in 27 states (List of states)  all seeking class action status, covering as many as 7,000 current and former drivers or half the estimated 14,000 FedEx Ground contractor-drivers in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.  Arguing they're not given full autonomy, they're demanding expense reimbursement, overtime and benefits. FedEx Ground division contractor-drivers are responsible for their own taxes, vehicles, fuel and overhead.

The litigation came after a Superior Court judge in California issued a ruling last year that FedEx should reclassify these contractors as employees. State Labor Authorities in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Montana have made similar findings.

The abuses at FedEx are far reaching. The company also denies drivers benefits under the Family Leave Act (FMLA) and the Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) because it wrongfully misclassifies them as "independent contractors." This includes family and medical leave, health, disability and pension benefits. FMLA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for the birth or adoption of a child or for the serious illness of an employee or specified family member. Health, disability pension and other employee benefits are governed by ERISA. Also, no overtime pay.

Basic benefits that all employees are entitled to aren't the only attacks on workers by FedEx. Minority workers are victims of discrimination in pay, promotions and disciplinary action.  In 2003 a class action lawsuit, Satchell, et al. v. FedEx Express, was filed in United States District Court in San Francisco, California. Current and former African-American and Latino hourly employees and African-American lower-level managers at FedEx Express filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated minority employees in FedEx’s Western Region. The lawsuit charges that FedEx discriminated and continues to discriminate against minorities in compensation, promotion, and discipline by paying minority employees less than non-minority employees, denying minority hourly employees promotions that they are qualified to receive, and subjecting minority employees to unfair and harsher discipline than non-minority employees for the same conduct.

Also, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Regional Directors in New Jersey and Massachusetts has ruled that drivers for a FedEx are employees, not independent contractors. The decision found that even though the drivers signed contracts agreeing to operate as independent contractors, they should be considered employees because they must adhere to the company's rules and regulations, do not exercise full control over work, compensation, training, or routes. These decisions are opening the door for workers seeking to unionize, giving them the authority to hold secret ballot elections for representation.


Lawsuit Information:

FedEx Ground Contractor-Driver Suit   - Visit here.
Each lawsuit was individually filed by a law-firm(s) in the state where the plaintiffs worked. The MDL Judge appointed the following firms to serve as co-lead counsels for all of the lawsuits against FedEx:

Leonard Carder (Lynn Faris - California)
Lockridge Grindal Nauen (Susan Ellingstad - Minnesota)
Wechsler Harwood (Robert Harwood - New York)

Additionally, the MDL Judge appointed the following additional firms to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee:

Cureton Caplan (Jerald R. Cureton - New Jersey)
Siegel, Brill, Greupner, Duffy & Foster (Jordan Lewis - Pennsylvania)
Zimmerman Reed (J. Gordon Rudd - Minnesota)

Cureton Caplan won a recent New Jersey National Labor Relations Board ruling that drivers at FedEx Home Delivery were employees.
If you have questions about the lawsuits, please contact Leonard Carder at (510) 272-0169.

FedEx Discrimination Suit  - Visit here.
Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP
This case has been brought by a team of six California law firms with substantial experience in employment discrimination class action litigation. If you have any questions, you may contact the legal team bringing the class action by calling toll free 1-800-254-3079 or by e-mailing them at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


NOTICE:  This website is controlled by the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO, which is solely responsible for its content. FedEx is a registered trademark of the Federal Express Corporation and is used herein only as a reference to that company.