August 18, 2007: From Traffic World: ABF Freight System is seeking its own road toward a new Teamster contract and single employer pension plan.
The LTL carrier Aug. 17 said it is pulling out of Trucking Management Inc., the multiemployer bargaining unit that negotiates the National Master Freight Agreement, and plans to seek its own contract with the Teamsters union.
That decision is a step toward withdrawing from the union's multiemployer pension plans, a company spokesman said.
In an Aug. 17 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the company said it would conduct future contract negotiations directly with the Teamsters "for the purpose of entering into a new collective bargaining agreement applicable only to ABF."
"We have a strong interest in providing secure benefits for all our employees," said ABF spokesman Danny Loe. "This requires withdrawing from the multiemployer pension plans. Withdrawing from TMI gives us the undiluted voice we need to do that."
ABF's departure from TMI is an historic road mark for the trucking industry and the Teamsters union. When then-Teamsters chief James R. Hoffa negotiated the first NMFA in 1964, the contract covered 450,000 drivers employed by about 16,000 carriers.
ABF's departure will leave just four LTL carriers represented by TMI within the NMFA: Yellow Transportation, Roadway Express, New Penn Motor Express and USF Holland. All are subsidiaries of one company - $9.3 billion YRC Worldwide.
ABF is a $1.8 billion multiregional LTL carrier based in Fort Smith, Ark.