Teamsters riled but Toll defends driver sacking

Union to file unfair labour charges against Toll after it sacks US driver for leaving work to renew medical certificate

By Brad Gardner | March 27, 2012

A new batch of unfair labour practice allegations has been filed against Toll’s US operation after it sacked one of its drivers who left work to renew his medical certificate.

Steven Chavez says he used a lunch break to renew his Department of Transportation certificate, which is a requirement for all commercial drivers to stay on the road. He says he received verbal approval from his supervisor, but was fired later that day.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters union recently filed unfair labour charges against Toll for the sacking of Xiomara Perez and today confirmed it had done the same for Chavez.

However, a spokesman for Toll says the driver did not receive clearance from his supervisor and was fired for violating the company’s policy.

"The driver was found to have acted against company policy by leaving his work site and taking a company vehicle off-route without approval and without following proper notification process," the spokesman says.

"The driver had previously received multiple written warnings for similar breaches of company policy since 2010. The most recent of these warnings, his final written warning, was given in February this year."

Chavez has accused Toll of sacking him for supporting the union, which is pushing to negotiate wages and conditions for Toll’s Los Angeles drivers. Workers are scheduled to vote on April 11 to decide whether the union should act on their behalf.

"It’s ridiculous, we all know Toll is trying to fire its way out of having a worker’s union. I’ve been fighting for safer and more just working conditions for so long. They know I would vote yes so they sacked me before I could exercise my legal rights," Chavez says.

Perez says she was sacked after parking her truck on the side of the road to use a McDonald’s bathroom and buy some food. Toll claims she left her rig in a no-parking zone and did not stop to use the bathroom.

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