April 16, 2007: The Hoffa administration, Allied CEO Hugh Sawyer, and billionaire investor Ron Burkle breathed a sigh of relief today when 3,300 Allied Teamsters narrowly approved concessions.
The vote makes it likely that the court will approve a package deal, including wage cuts that will put Allied Teamsters’ wages 17 percent below those of other Teamster carhaulers by June 1, and then freeze wages for three years. The carhaul master agreement expires in a year, on June 1, 2008, and it is widely expected that the other carriers will resist improvements and push for matching cuts.
It is now imperative that the IBT come up with a plan to unite carhaulers to fight to save the national contract. So far, the Hoffa administration has not done that. Instead their energies have gone to attacking militant locals, intimidating members who want to defend the contract, and lying about Teamsters for a Democratic Union for winning the right to have observers at the count.
The concessions were heavily rejected in most of the larger and stronger locals, such as Detroit Local 299 and Flint Local 332, where Hoffa’s deal went down by a 3-1 margin.
Teamsters in Louisville Local 89, headed by IBT carhaul director Fred Zuckerman, also voted No, as did those in Minneapolis Local 120, where International Rep Louie Miller pushed for a Yes vote, and those in Nashville Local 327, home base of Southern Carhaul Chair Jimmy Neal. Of the ten larger units (with over 100 votes), seven voted No.
Other carhaul units that voted No include Jacksonville, Fla., Local 512; Janesville, Wis., Local 579; St. Louis Local 604; Dayton, Ohio Local 957; Tampa, Fla., Local 79; Baltimore Local 355; Birmingham, Ala., Local 612; and Mississippi Local 891.
The concessions passed in almost all the smaller units and in a couple larger ones: Kansas City Local 41 and Atlanta Local 528. It was easier for the Hoffa administration’s scare tactics to work in the smaller and more isolated units, where a network of active Teamsters, including TDU members, could not reach everyone.
Local 299 member Donna McCuiston and Local 332 member Ava Miller were at today’s count to help ensure Teamsters’ votes would all count. TDU and Michigan carhaulers went to court over vote fraud in the 2003 contract vote, and won the right to have observers at contract vote counts. The count appeared fair in most respects, but they made some objections. Most importantly, they objected that there were no eligibility checks on ballots returned: the votes were simply all counted, except for a handful that sisters McCuiston and Miller objected to in advance, by name, as known retirees or other ineligible persons.
Carhaulers who care about the future of our contract and our rights as Teamsters should take one step forward: join TDU and help make it happen.