September 26, 2013: Yesterday the IBT Freight Division told local union officers that they will conduct a strike vote among ABF local cartage workers in the Central Region. Gordon Sweeton told local officers that ABF presented a "last, best, and final" offer for the Central Region, and the union has no choice but to conduct a strike vote, following the two earlier membership rejections.
Posing the vote as a strike authorization, rather than over a contract proposal, is designed to get the contract settled, because at this point members are more interested in contract improvements than in a strike. Sweeton emphasized that vote for strike authorization would do serious damage to ABF and the IBT will strongly urge against authorization. The vote total in the second rejection was 716 No to 562 Yes.
Sweeton also reported that the Freight Division had OK'd ABF to haul 300 loads out of Michigan, to Chicago, by a nonunion operator. That work has already started.
Sweeton stated that he thinks they can get a settlement in another rejected supplement, covering the Western office Teamsters.