UPDATE: May 31, 2019:
After publication, Lowe's spokesperson Steve Salazar provided the following statement: "Lowe’s works with NFI, among others, to support our supply chain operations, moving product to our distribution facilities and stores. Lowe’s expects that providers who offer products or services to Lowe’s will comply with all laws and regulations, and adhere to Lowe’s Vendor Code of Conduct. We have shared this feedback with leadership at NFI."
In addition, a spokesperson from NFI Industries provided the following statement: "As the Teamsters have become more desperate to stem their ever-shrinking union ranks, they have become more aggressive in spreading misinformation and outright lies about employers generally. The Teamsters continue to spread such misinformation, even though Cal Cartage employees have voted overwhelmingly against unionization and independent contractors have decided that they do not want to be employee drivers. We will continue to our commitment to being a law-abiding, best-in-class service provider, and to support the business decisions being made by our great employees and the dedicated independent contractors who provide services to us."
- Truck drivers and warehouse workers from the Port of Los Angeles, along with Teamsters Local 391 from North Carolina, are calling on Lowe's to "clean up [its] broken supply chain" and break ties with NFI Industries, which they say is misclassifying workers and violating labor laws, according to a press release from Justice for Port Drivers. Lowe's contracts NFI Industries for supply chain work.
- Union members plan to attend the Lowe's Annual General Meeting today in Charlotte, North Carolina. The union wants to share with executives what it sees as "egregious and persistent labor law violations that are routinely happening in their supply chain," according to the release.
- Steve Salazar, a spokesperson for Lowe's, wrote in an email to Supply Chain Dive Lowe's is aware of the plans, "but have yet to interact with them, so we don’t have anything to share." NFI Industries was unable to comment prior to publication.
Two workers wrote a letter to Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison earlier this year calling on the retailer to end its relationship with NFI Industries.
"As a customer of NFI, you face a clear choice. Will you stand with us, the workers who have dedicated our lives to moving your products, or with NFI, a company that has repeatedly demonstrated its contempt for workers and the law?" the letter reads.
NFI Industries and companies associated with the 3PL have been embroiled in controversy related to labor violations. Earlier this year, the California Labor Commissioner awarded $1.2 million to 10 workers after it found K&R Transportation, purchased by NFI in 2017, misclassified workers, according to a press release from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The L.A. City Attorney is also suing three companies owned by NFI Industries for misclassifying workers in an attempt "to avoid providing benefits and paying applicable taxes."
"We allege these port trucking companies take advantage of hundreds of hard-working drivers, requiring them to pay onerous expenses just to do their jobs, while leaving them without basic benefits and protections--all to boost the companies' profits," L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement last year. "It's wrong and we're fighting to stop it."
Along with attending the Lowe's Annual General Meeting, the port workers and union members will hand out leaflets detailing their concerns outside of a Lowe's store in Charlotte, N.C., near Lowe's headquarters in Mooresville, N.C.
"We want to make sure you are aware of the many problems at NFI," the workers' letter to Ellison said. "For years, we have spoken up about unsafe equipment, incredibly hot temperatures inside the warehouse, misclassification as 'independent contractors,' racial discrimination we've faced, retaliation and intimidation, widespread wage theft we endure, and ongoing abuses of our rights as workers."