Carhaul: Can a Two-Year Contract Help Rebuild Teamster Power?

February 1, 2008: In late January Teamster carhaul officials met to screen contract proposals and formulate demands for the national contract that expires May 30.

Hopefully the good proposals submitted by members and locals will be put on the table, but the fact remains that a large chunk of Teamsters carhaulers are stuck under the 2007 Allied concession deal that lasts another two years. This creates a tough bargaining climate for our union.

The 17.5 percent concessions at Allied would spread to a majority of the industry if Allied takes over PTS. The future of PTS may not be decided until March. These concessions hang over the bargaining table like a dark cloud.

Even though Jack Cooper, Cassens and Active are making profits, they are going to resist major contract improvements over and above the $1 per hour per year that will be required for pension and health and welfare.

Some Teamster carhaulers have suggested that negotiating a two-year contract would be a strategic first step in a plan to rebuild Teamster power in carhaul.

The idea is this: Bargain a short-term contract that protects our national standards. Then return to the bargaining table in two years—when the concessions at Allied expire. Then our union would be positioned to fight for a unified national contract with the highest possible standards.

One thing is clear. Our International’s policy of relying on billionaire Ron Burkle to do the heavy lifting for our union is undermining industry standards—not improving them.

We need a new direction and a union plan for restoring our national contract and organizing the nonunion competition.

Negotiating a two-year national contract is not a cure-all. But it may be a start.

What do you think? The Carhaul Committee of Teamsters for a Democratic Union wants to know.

Click here to tell us what you think of the idea of bargaining a two-year contract or what steps our union should take in the short-term and over the next two years to rebuild Teamster power in our industry.


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