Yellow Goes for "Premium Service" in the Midwest

November 4, 2004: Yellow Freight has proposed to add Premium Service boards at 33 terminals in Pennsylvania and across the Midwest, in a change of operations slated to be heard on Dec. 7 in Chicago. At the same time a separate proposed change of operations will be heard, to establishe sort-hubs in Coldwater, Mich., and Cincinnati and Richfield, Ohio.

The new Article 18 (and a “Letter of Understanding”) of the 2002 NMFA allows management to open a new board of combination employees (road-city-dock) to do “Premium Service” work only.

The letter of understanding states that this is “not intended to divert other traffic from the present method of operation and deprive employees of premium day work opportunities or reduce the present Monday-Friday work weeks.”

The contract provides that only new business in same-day, next-day and second-day market will be moved by a Premium Service board, with the goal of expanding service and jobs. The proposed change does not specify what this freight may be.

Most of the 33 affected terminals will start with just one Premium Service driver, with the largest ones (Chicago, Detroit) adding four or five.
This is a foot-in-the-door, to start up the operation in the Midwest and then expand it.

Will road boards like Cleveland lose their turn-around runs, as premium service drivers get based in scattered terminals around the Midwest?

Who will police this operation? If one premium service pallet is on a trailer, can the trailer be loaded with regular freight?

Yellow has proposed that only local cartage workers can bid on the jobs; the contract states, however, that CDL-qualified Teamsters can bid on the jobs, as determined by the Change of Operations Committee.

Because this operation has the potential to undercut existing jobs, classifications and conditions, our union needs to establish clear guidelines and police it carefully.

Note: Check your contract book—the four-page “Letter of Understanding” in Article 18 that allows Premium Service combination workers is not included in the book! If you need a copy, contact your local or TDU. You’ll need the language to enforce it.


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