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Region 21-Los Angeles Announces Settlement Agreement Resulting in Millions in Backpay to Workers and Proper Classification of Drivers

Office of Public Affairs

On August 5, 2022, Region 21-Los Angeles Regional Director William B. Cowen announced the resolution of a multi-year labor dispute between the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Universal Intermodal family of companies (“Companies”). In a private global settlement reached on the eve of trial and facilitated by Region 21, the parties were able to reach a comprehensive solution to their long-standing dispute about the proper classification of drivers as employees or independent contractors.

This settlement resolved 11 unfair labor practice charges that were at various stages of litigation, including seven cases pending review before the National Labor Relations Board on Exceptions and Cross-Exceptions to the October 19, 2021 Decision of Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Michael A. Rosas finding that the Companies committed multiple violations of the National Labor Relations Act. A trial on another set of cases was set to begin on August 4, 2022. As trial preparations continued, representatives of the parties worked diligently behind the scenes to resolve their differences. The result was a private global settlement in which the Companies will:

  • Re-establish its closed Compton, California drayage business.
  • Provide offers of reinstatement to the approximately 66 affected drivers.
  • Pay millions in backpay to the approximately 66 affected drivers.
  • Recognize the Union as the representative of the unit of drayage drivers.
  • Enter into an agreed first collective bargaining agreement for the unit of drayage drivers.
  • Agree not to misclassify drivers as independent contractors.
  • Provide an option for other drivers at Universal Intermodal subsidiaries to transfer as full-time employees to the Union-represented drayage business.
  • Post at various facilities and mail to the drivers a notice that informs employees of their rights and remedies of unfair labor practices under the National Labor Relations Act.

The parties’ global settlement fully resolves the issues raised by complaints issued in 2021 and 2022. The parties will seek to vacate the October 19, 2021 ALJ decision and ask the Board to remand those seven cases back to the Region 21 Regional Director William B. Cowen. The Union has requested withdrawal of charges currently pending before Region 21. Regional Director Cowen has approved those withdrawal requests, conditioned on the parties continued observance of the terms of their private global settlement.

“The resolution of these cases shows that it is never too late for parties to recognize that it is in their mutual interest to resolve their disputes without lengthy and expensive litigation,” said Region 21 Regional Director Cowen. “Although this is a private settlement, it would not have been possible without the hard work of our investigative and litigation teams. Bringing the parties to the table where they can work out their differences is what the National Labor Relations Act is all about. I have great hopes that this settlement and initial collective bargaining agreement will be the cornerstone of a thriving trucking enterprise in Southern California providing well-paying jobs with quality union benefits.”


Established in 1935, the National Labor Relations Board is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labor practices and protects the right of private sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. The NLRB conducts hundreds of workplace elections and investigates thousands of unfair labor practice charges each year. Region 21 serves areas in California from its Resident Offices in Los Angeles and San Diego.