February 14, 2013: Nearly two months after putting a long list of concessions on the bargaining table, ABF management refuses to take any of them off the table. That's the report IBT freight negotiator Gordon Sweeton gave on a February 13 conference call for Teamster local union officers.
Management's threat is that if they don't get the concessions they want, they will consolidate some terminals and downsize the network. But they are free to do that under the contract, and could do so today if they wanted. And they can do it whatever the outcome of bargaining.
They made that same threat leading up to the May 2010 vote on wage concessions. They're hoping Teamster members forget that fact. It didn’t work then and shouldn’t work now.
Already Got Pension Concessions
ABF already got some pre-contract relief from the national master contract. Last August, they were required by the contract to pay a $1 increase in benefit contributions, to our pensions and health and welfare funds. But the company only put 35¢ into health and welfare and zero into pension in the Central States and Western Conference Funds; those two funds cover a big majority of ABF Teamsters.
And it is almost certain that they will not have to put any new money into those two pension funds in the new contract: they can continue the same rate.
Teamsters Willing to Help, Not Concede
ABF Teamsters are not asking for the moon. But they do expect to maintain their health care and wages, and not let the company turn it into a nonunion-style operation.
It's time for management to dump the threats and bargain. The contract expires in just six weeks.
It's time for members be informed, spread the word, and stand together as Teamsters.