The national carhaul contract, which was negotiated in secret with an information blackout from the members, will finally see the light of day next week.Read more
The International Union has reportedly reached a tentative agreement for the national carhaul contract. No information is available, as the Hoffa administration has put a gag-order on the negotiating committee, and has maintained secrecy from members throughout the process.Read more
Teamster and employer negotiators met today to exchange initial proposals, with bargaining set to begin on June 10. The union’s proposals are available here. The contract expires on August 31.
The union’s initial proposals cover a number of important working conditions and competitive rates issues (Article 22), but not proposals on wages, pension, health benefits and other monetary issues. Those will be addressed later in bargaining.
Bargaining has barely started but Hoffa is already putting politics ahead of the contract.
The union committee chosen by James Hoffa and Carhaul Director Kevin Moore omits leaders from important locals, including Local 89, one of the largest carhaul locals, and St Louis Local 604. The leaders of those locals – Fred Zuckerman and John Thyer – are candidates on the Teamsters United slate.
Some 300 carhaul members joined a Teamsters United conference call last month to discuss the contract and upcoming election, and to form a national contract solidarity network among carhaulers.
Get involved in the fight to save our contract and our union.
May 20, 2015: Over 300 carhaulers joined a conference call on May 14 to form a national network of stewards, officers, and active members to defend their contract and change the national leadership of the union. Now the organizing work will begin.
Interview with Kirk Sikora Local 327 Steward Cassens
How did you become a Teamster Carhauler?
(reprinted from www.TeamstersUnited.org)
May 15, 2015: Over 300 carhaulers joined a Teamsters United campaign conference call on May 14 to talk about the national contract and the IBT election. General President candidate Tim Sylvester announced that John Thyer is joining the Teamsters United slate.
Thyer, the principal officer of St Louis Local 604, has been a Teamster officer for two decades and a carhauler for nearly four decades. “He is everything that Hoffa isn’t,” Sylvester said.
Members got to talk directly with the candidates and air their issues.
"I'm impressed with the Teamsters United team and confident that their leadership will build back the strength of our union. It was great to hear carhaulers from Wilmington, Tampa, Detroit, Kansas City and everywhere else talking about the issues,” said Steve Burns, an Atlanta Local 528 Teamster at Jack Cooper.
“Under Hoffa, carhaulers feel like we have no voice and no union backing. People are waking up and seeing that this union is in dire straights and we need new leadership. As much as I can possibly do, I’ll do it. I can take days off and travel if I need to because we gotta make it happen,” Burns said.
Fred Zuckerman answered questions on carhaul, the upcoming contract, and the disastrous Hoffa-Hall policies that have driven the Central States Pension Plan into the ditch.
Carhaulers are planning to hold more calls and form a national committee of Carhaulers for Teamsters United, with a representative at every terminal in the country.
Are you a carhauler that wants a new direction in our union? Sign up for updates from Teamsters United.
November 11, 2014: Louisville Local 89 and Teamster carhaulers have won a strike victory at Ford, despite getting no support from the Hoffa administration.
Teamsters who transport vehicles from the Ford assembly plant to the rails in Louisville have won a victory—and they have won big.
Their victory puts an end to a dirty deal cut between Ford and contractor Voith Industrial in early 2012, which dumped 161 Teamsters who made $20 an hour and replaced them with newly-hired workers making $11-$14 an hour.
The Hoffa administration delayed and denied strike sanction to Local 89 and blocked its leadership from negotiating a solution with the UAW.
But that didn’t stop Teamsters Local 89.
First, the local won multiple unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB against Voith. Then Local 89 finished the job on the picket line.
It took Local 89 members just four days to win — once the Hoffa administration stopped delaying strike sanction.
Now 161 Teamsters who were on the original seniority board are returning to work with full back pay, benefits, and restoration of their seniority.
Eighty-four more workers hired by Voith since the dispute began in 2012 will get backpay for the wages and benefits they were entitled to under the national carhaul contract too.
The total price tag could surpass $50 million in backpay and benefits; the NLRB will determine the final figure.
Ford has also severed it relationship with Voith. Local 89 Teamsters will be employed by RCS Transportation going forward.
Congratulations to the Local 89 leadership and members. Their victory shows what Teamster power can be.
One local union and its united members defeat a sweetheart arrangement, save over 200 jobs, with full backpay and benefits.
By comparison, Hoffa’s International Union Carhaul Director did nothing while Ford and Voith teamed up in a similar scheme to put Teamster carhaulers in the street in Michigan.
Teamster power in Louisville. A Teamster power outage at the International. It’s time for change.
Click here to read the report on the Local 89 website.
A federal bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Allied Systems Holdings, once the nation’s largest auto hauler, to Jack Cooper Transport Co. for $135 million.
Cooper already is the nation’s largest auto hauler, but its pending acquisition of Allied means it will have a position of dominance not seen since Allied’s prime.
Cooper’s management said it expects growth in conjunction with expanding U.S. auto sales, which have grown continuously since mid-2011.
“We had unanimous support, and I think that was important to the judge. The Teamsters, the Canadian Auto Workers, customers and creditors — all were on record in support,” said Cooper Chairman Michael Riggs. “This was a very good event.”
Allied entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in June 2012 for the second time in seven years. Judge Christopher Sontchi in Delaware signed the order of approval Sept. 17.
“The sales are the culmination of our efforts to strengthen the financial core of Allied Systems, and through them we have achieved our goal of maximizing the value of the company,” Allied CEO Mark Gendregske said.
The deal, which is all cash except for $10 million, still must be approved by the Justice Department. In addition to the Jack Cooper deal, a small batch of excluded assets — mainly real estate and personal property — will be sold separately.
Riggs said he would merge Allied Automotive Group, the company’s car-haul operations, into Jack Cooper. He said he anticipates 2014 revenue for the merged company of nearly $1 billion.
The company will have 70 to 75 terminals in the United States and Canada; 3,500 working car-haul rigs and another 500 spares; and 3,500 to 4,000 drivers. Allied and Cooper employees are represented by the Teamsters union.
Riggs said he will operate Allied’s Axis Group subsidiary as a stand-alone automotive transport logistics company.
“This is as good an outcome as we could have hoped for,” said Roy Gross, director of the Teamsters’ car-haul division. “Our members were almost collateral damage in the fight between the two groups of lenders. The judge acknowledged that this was ‘a very difficult case’ and that Allied was in danger of ‘dying on the vine.’ ”
In 2003 — two years before its first bankruptcy — Allied ranked No. 22 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of for-hire carriers (it was named Allied Holdings then) and traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its annual revenue from the previous year was $898.1 million, although it did have a net loss of $7.53 million. The next largest autohauler was United Road Services, with $248.7 million in revenue.
Allied’s history also includes a role in American Trucking Associations, with Guy Rutland Jr. serving as chairman in 1957-1958, and his son, Guy III, in 1987-1988.
Allied filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2005 and was delisted by the American Stock Exchange later that month. In June 2007, it emerged from bankruptcy as Allied Systems Holdings and was owned by Yucaipa Cos.
In June 2012, Allied filed Chapter 11 again. SJ Consulting estimated Allied’s revenue at $305 million at the time, good enough for third place among car haulers behind Cooper, first with $500 million, and United Road Services in second place with $325 million.
The company did not report revenue and therefore is not ranked in the current TT Top 100.
Riggs, who bought Jack Cooper from its founding family in 2009, said he thinks size will be the key to the success for which he is hoping.
“It helps in minimizing empty miles, which can be 50% to 75% in this industry,” Riggs said. In contrast, truckload carriers usually try to keep empty miles, or deadhead, below 10%.
Riggs said the car-haul sector is beset with high deadhead because car-haul rigs can move only cars and pickup trucks. However, by adding terminals, he thinks it improves the odds of getting at least a partial backhaul.
“It’s a density strategy: The more terminals you have, the more you can build economies of scale,” he said.
Prior to the recession in 2007, U.S. auto sales were about 16 million a year, but by the fall of 2009, the annualized rate hit bottom at 9.36 million. This year, they are on pace to top 15 million.
Riggs said he thinks car sales will keep growing and hit 18 million vehicles a year within three or four years.
We have a legal right to a fair and informed vote on our national contracts. But our rights have not come without Teamsters for a Democratic Union taking on big battles. Here is a summary of some key legal – and membership – victories involving our rights in national Teamster contracts.
We Won the Right to a Fair and Informed Vote
Bauman v Presser. This case set a precedent for a “fair and informed” vote. We obtained an injunction stopping a UPS national contract vote and requiring a do-over on fair terms. As Bill Bauman (who was a steward in St Louis Local 688) stated at the time: “We won a democratic voice in collective bargaining for Teamster members.” Without this victory, Hoffa-Hall could mail out proposed contracts or supplements for a vote without any prior information available or adequate time for debate among members.
We Won the Right to Vote on Supplements and Riders
Davey v Fitzimmons. In this case we claimed that some supplements to the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) were so different, they required separate membership votes. We lost; the court gave the IBT leadership wide latitude to interpret the IBT constitution, and said we had to change the constitution if we wanted separate votes on supplements and riders. TDU Organizer Ken Paff was one of six plaintiffs.
We then built a movement to do just that, and succeeded at the 1991 IBT Convention; working closely with a good Teamster leader, then Harrisburg Local 776 president Tom Griffith, and with some fine work by reform delegates to the Convention to overcome the opposition of the IBT officials. That victory gave members more power to win better contracts.
Without this victory, the UPS contract would have been all over back in June.
We Won the Right to Observers at the Contract Vote Count
McCuiston v Hoffa. A consent order coming out of this carhaul contract case gave us the right to have rank and file observers at contract vote counts. Prior to this, the Hoffa administration handpicked a few observers – and not from all supplements and riders – who were not independent and kept secret from members what happened at the count. This is a crucial step for transparency and fair contract votes.
We Won Majority Rule on Contracts
In the Harmon case, we challenged a national contract vote where 64% voted no, but the union imposed the “2/3 to reject a contract” rule. We argued some members had been denied ballots, enough to possibly make it 2/3 No. Pressure built on the issue, and finally the IBT leadership conceded, and granted Teamster members majority rule, which is written into the IBT Constitution. This was a huge victory – UPS knew they only had to get 1/3 of voters to approve a contract. TDU fought to win majority rule for years, and it was finally won.
We Won the Right to Access all Proposed Supplements and Riders
In the Braxton case we won the right to get all tentative agreements for all supplements and riders, at the time of the “two-man” meeting, so that we can make them available to all members before voting. Prior to this victory, members only had access to their own supplement to the national contract and “highlights” or IBT PR. John Braxton was a UPS worker in Philadelphia who also worked for Teamster president Ron Carey. Now you can find the supplements and riders posted on www.TDU.org, and the IBT (in response to TDU) posts them as well.
We Won the Right to Quarterly Central States Fund Financials
When the Central States Pension and Health and Welfare Funds refused to give members access to quarterly financial and special-counsel reports which were filed with the court, we intervened and won in court. (The lead plaintiff, Tommy Burke, is a retired UPS driver in North Carolina.) The quarterly financial and analytical reports are available to members only on www.TDU.org.
Members of TDU are proud of this history. We believe these victories have made our union stronger, and given members a seat at the table. We thank the members who made this possible through their support, and we thank our great legal team.
You can help us make a lot more history with your support of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the national network of Teamster reformers working together for a strong and democratic Teamsters Union.