WASHINGTON — More than 1,100 DHL Express Teamsters at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) went on strike Thursday, Dec. 7, to protest unfair labor practices and demand the company negotiate a fair contract.
“For too long, DHL has walked all over our rights to collective action,” said Gina Kemp, a DHL-CVG ramp and tug worker. “We were forced to go on strike to put an end to DHL’s illegal anti-union behavior. This company’s repeated acts of disrespect — from the tarmac where we work to the bargaining table — leave me and my co-workers with no choice but to withhold our labor.”
The ramp and tug workers at DHL-CVG voted to organize with the Teamsters in April 2023, according to a news release.
The union has filed numerous unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board during and since the organizing campaign, including for DHL’s retaliation against pro-union workers. The NLRB is prosecuting the company civilly for its illegal actions.
DHL Express is a highly profitable division of Deutsche Post AG, a publicly traded global company based in Germany. DHL Express alone recorded a $4.3 billion operating profit in 2022 from worldwide operations, while the parent company’s revenue topped $100 billion.
“DHL bosses are pocketing billions as many of these workers live paycheck to paycheck,” said Bill Hamilton, director of the Teamsters Express Division. “Meanwhile, this anti-worker company has the audacity to disrespect rank-and-file workers who are simply trying to stand up for themselves at the bargaining table. Enough is enough.”
The General Executive Board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters recently authorized an increase in strike benefits for DHL-CVG workers. The Teamsters represent more than 6,000 members at DHL facilities across the U.S.
The Teamsters have been in negotiations with DHL since July for a first union contract at CVG. DHL members represented by Teamsters Local 100 load and unload airplanes at the company’s largest and busiest logistics hub in North America.
“DHL must stop breaking the law and give workers their fair share. They can afford it,” said Bill Davis, President of Local 100. “The company forced this work stoppage, but DHL has the opportunity to right this wrong by respecting our members and coming to terms on a strong contract.”
In a statement, DHL called the strike “unfortunate.”
The union, the company said, has “decided to increase the external rhetoric and communicate inaccuracies around the status of these CVG Hub negotiations, we have consistently sought to bargain in good faith and to find constructive solutions at the negotiating table. The company’s contingency plan includes temporarily sending cargo to other DHL facilities and using supplemental airline or contractor staff at CVG to fill vacancies. We expect no disruption to services. Our customers should remain confident in our ability to provide the excellent service they expect and require.”
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.