Workers Gearing Up for the Big Show?

September 25, 2012

While workers are busy practicing a loud delivery of the American Dream, Toll just can’t seem to keep up with its new cast of unionized workers. Earlier this year after Toll drivers delivered a killer punch in the landslide victory for their union, Toll’s top Australian executives responded by stating: “We welcome the conclusion of this campaign and recognize our employees’ decision” and then proceeded to pledge to “negotiate with the union in good faith.”

But their rehearsed lines fell flat.

And maybe we shouldn’t take Toll’s fumbles personal, after all this is the same company who recently made some embarrassing headlines when a group of top Toll executives decided to wear penis aprons and simulate sex with a donkey. Yes, you read that right – no, the “sex with a donkey” part is not a typo. (Gasp!)

So why is it that Australia’s Top Trucking company and aspiring leader within the American trucking industry keeps getting it wrong?

Perhaps it’s true that old habits die hard – but in Toll’s case their bad anti-worker habits are not only not dying, they are actually inching them closer and closer to yet another showdown with their workers.

And how is this showdown likely to play out? Well let’s review:

When Toll decided it was a good idea to deny its workers basic humane working conditions including access to drinking water and clean sanitary bathrooms – their drivers fought back! Workers contacted the Teamsters, America’s largest and most powerful transportation union, and began to organize to form their union.

When Toll decided it was a good idea to sack 26 drivers as part of their anti-union retaliation efforts – their drivers fought back! Overnight the workers’ struggle against the trucking giant became the talk of the town, and local community members, clergy and worker advocates quickly joined the fight and backed the drivers’ demands.

When Toll decided it was a good idea to publicly deny the facts about its unsafe and unsanitary working conditions – the drivers fought back! An investigation by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration found Toll to be in violation of safety standards, slapping the Australian giant with fines to the tune of almost $25,000.

When Toll decided it was a good idea to continue its retaliatory firings and outright harassment of its American workers – drivers fought back! Workers continued to rally against their irresponsible employer garnering international support from the TWU, Australia’s leading transportation union and even inspiring Australian Senator Glenn Sterle to call Toll’s action “disgraceful.”

When Toll decided to spend hundreds of thousands of business dollars to hire ineffective anti-union consultants instead of investing in the workers who could help them grow and succeed in a key expansion market – once again, drivers fought back!

On April 11, Toll’s American drivers claimed a historic victory giving Toll and its high paid consultants the biggest black eye yet. Proving this group of workers knows what they want and will not settle for anything less than what is right.

And so, what’s next? What are drivers ready to dish out to Toll?

Well if “Just Practicing” picket signs speak louder than words, then Toll can rest assure that its drivers are nowhere near giving up on their American Dream. And as the saying goes… practice makes perfect.

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