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ABF, Teamsters agree to contract extension through August 31

By John D. Schulz, Contributing Editor and Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
July 31, 2013

ABF Freight System, the seventh-largest less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier by revenue, said this week that it has reached an agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for a contract extension through August 31 that it said will “allow for the conclusion of the voting process for the remaining six supplemental agreements to the ABF National Master Freight Agreement.

ABF said ballots will be mailed to its Teamster employees covered by those supplements in early August, which will be counted in the following weeks.

In late June, ABF and the Teamsters they reached a tentative agreement on a contract for the next five years, with its Teamster members formally ratifying ABF’s national collective bargaining agreement.

At that time, ABF said a majority of the supplements to the ABF National Master Freight Agreement also passed, adding that the remaining supplemental agreements that require additional action cover various local work rule and other technical items and do not affect the major economic terms that are covered by the now-ratified ABF NMFA.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the dissident wing of the 1.4 million member union, said last month that the ABF master contract was ratified by a vote of 3,210 yes to 2,965 no, with most of the big terminals, including Atlanta, Chicago, and Dayton rejecting the contract heavily. TDU said 7,753 ballots were mailed out, making this voter turnout about 80 percent of ABF Teamsters.

While full details of the contract were not released, the Teamsters said that the contract calls for a 7 percent wage reduction which will be recouped by the end of the contract.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the dissident wing of the 1.4 million member union, said that the ABF master contract was ratified by a vote of 3,210 yes to 2,965 no, with most of the big terminals, including Atlanta, Chicago, and Dayton rejecting the contract heavily. TDU said 7,753 ballots were mailed out, making this voter turnout about 80 percent of ABF Teamsters.

While full details of the contract were not released, the Teamsters said that the contract calls for a 7 percent wage reduction which will be recouped by the end of the contract.

ABF said this week that ABF and Teamsters leaders have visited areas covered by the supplements, clarified various issues and addressed concerns, adding that it “remain[s] hopeful that the agreements will be ratified, and it remains business as usual at ABF in the meantime.” What’s more, ABF said the increases in contributions to health, welfare and pension plans that were supposed to begin August 1 for all Teamster employees will not take effect as scheduled until all remaining supplemental agreements are ratified.

ABF reported that first quarter revenue hit $520.7 million and was up compared to $440.9 million a year ago, and that it incurred a net loss of $13.4 million compared to an $18.2 million loss for the first quarter of 2012. ABF said that gains in revenue and tonnage on the LTL side were offset by higher wage and benefit costs for its Teamsters employees.

ABF said that its financial performance through the first six months of 2013 remain challenged by excessive costs, adding that full ratification of all supplemental agreements will allow terms of the now-ratified national agreement to take effect and help ABF to turn a sustained profit.

ABF parent company, Arkansas Best Corporation, will announce second quarter earnings on Friday, August 9.

About the Author

John D. Schulz, Contributing Editor and Jeff Berman, Group News Editor

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Article Topics

News · LTL · ABF Freight · Teamsters · All topics

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