April 17, 2009: U.S. automakers said they are open to considering participation by auto haulers in the newly announced multibillion-dollar federal program aimed at stabilizing key parts suppliers.
“We’re now considering including haulers as an exception to the Tier One ‘production and raw materials’ supplier requirement,” said Chrysler spokesman Dave Elshoff in an April 9 e-mail to Transport Topics.
“While the Treasury program is mainly focused on Tier One direct material suppliers, GM is willing to explore opportunities to include logistics providers in the program,” General Motors spokesman Dan Flores said.
The Treasury Department announcement last week about the program that will give at least $2 billion to GM and $1.5 billion to Chrysler originally had been expected to help trucking directly, since car haulers are Tier One suppliers that do business directly with those companies.
“We are glad to see that Chrysler and General Motors are contemplating including their vehicle-carrier base in the guarantee of receivables,” said Robert Farrell, executivedirector of the Automobile Carriers Conference of American Trucking Associations.
“If GM and Chrysler do not allow their vehicle-carrier base to participate, they could increase the risk to the final mile of their vehicle supply chain and thus potential sales,” Farrell said.
“It is important that they [car haulers] be included, because otherwise carriers in need would be scrambling for liquidity to continue operations,” he added.
Chrysler’s Elshoff and GM’s Flores urged car haulers to contact the company if they are interested in participating.
Treasury said in a statement that the action “will help stabilize the auto-supply base and restore credit flows in a critical sector that employs more than 500,000 American workers across the country.”
“We have worked closely with Treasury as the program was developed,” GM’s Flores said. “We are pleased with it.”
Possible omission from the program is the latest adversity for car haulers. Several have filed for bankruptcy protection in recent years, and Performance Transportation Services Inc. went out of business last June after a Teamsters union strike.
The supplier support program, proposed to Treasury nearly two months ago by the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and its affiliates, is being introduced as the two automakers fight to avoid bankruptcy amid a 38% first-quarter drop in sales.
Suppliers either can pay a 3% fee for a “quick pay” program or a 2% fee to have receivables guaranteed through the program, a Chrysler statement said.
“During this difficult period of restructuring in the auto industry, the supplier support program will provide supply companies with access to liquidity and protect good-paying American jobs,” Treasury said.
Bloomberg News said Ford Motor Co., which didn’t participate in the federal program, is developing its own program to aid its suppliers.
By Rip Watson, Senior Reporter
Reprinted from Transport Topics
April 10, 2009: We believe we can, even in these difficult times.
But carhaulers need a national plan and national leadership.
It may not be realistic to shut the door on all concessions because of the situation that we, and the companies, find ourselves in. If concessions are given, there needs to be a plan to survive the present and build union strength for the future. Part of any concessions should be a plan to protect union jobs, and a plan for a snap-back provision when the economic situation improves.
Instead we have Hoffa and other IBT leaders taking raises for themselves while they sit back and let companies break up our national contracts and destroy our jobs.
There has never been a time when a national plan of action from our union leadership has been so important. Tough times call for tough leadership.
Giving concessions on a terminal-by-terminal basis, with Teamster pitted against Teamster, while the union leadership hides in Washington—that is the opposite of leadership. That is the failure of the Hoffa administration.
March 2, 2009: Jack Cooper, operating as PMT in the West, has lost GM traffic in Los Angeles and Milpitas, Calif. to a nonunion outfit called Harbor Auto Transport. Over half of the drivers working have been laid off.
Los Angeles Local 63’s carhaul BA, Bob Doss, has consistently blamed the workers for not taking big concessions. The company continues to pressure the drivers to take a flat rate concession.
Jack Cooper has also royally screwed the owner-operators in Local 63. Management encouraged a number of drivers to buy brand-new trucks less than two years ago, to become “partners” with PMT. Now they have given the drivers 30 days notice of their lease cancellation. They did the same thing in Georgetown, Ky.
These Teamsters are stuck with payments on vehicles that cost over $200,000 at a time when there is no market to sell a car carrier.
They could be forced to take an enormous loss on the investment that management asked them to make.
Doss, their BA, won’t even return their calls for help, leaving the drivers on their own.
With excess capacity in the industry, companies are taking every advantage they can. And shippers are looking to increase nonunion market share. In tough times like this we need a union leadership with a plan more than ever. We don’t have that now.
March 2, 2009: With few carhaulers working, you would think that Jack Cooper would lay off management to bring the number in line with what is needed. In some areas they have, but at a few terminals they practically have one supervisor for every driver working. Before they blame Teamsters and demand more concessions, how about controlling the overhead costs?
March 2, 2009: It’s bad enough that the majority of Teamster carhaulers are not working; now Local 604 reports that an International auditor working for IBT Secretary-Treasurer Tom Keegel has told the local union they should increase the dues of working carhaulers.
St. Louis Local 604 has posted on their website (www.teamsters604.org) a letter from local Secretary-Treasurer John Thyer in response, stating that the local will decline to raise dues. Thyer’s letter reports that after a routine audit, the local was told that carhaulers should be paying dues based on their annual earnings, not on the contract hourly rate. For a carhauler who is working long hours and making good money, this could raise dues to $100 per month or more.
Thanks to Local 604 for blowing the whistle, to help kill this idea.
March 2, 2009: When the International gave Allied the 17.5 percent wage concession, the deal provided that Allied’s Axis subsidiary would become union. Two years later, that hasn’t happened. Nonunion shuttle drivers work the Dearborn Michigan yard. Nonunion drivers pull the traffic. Where’s the union leadership?
December 22, 2008: TDU salutes Teamsters who made a difference in 2008, like carhaulers who united to fight concessions.
Earlier this year, Teamster carhaulers went into national bargaining with the deck stacked against them. But in a decisive vote on August 11, carhaulers united to beat back concessions.
They rejected the national contact and all three regional supplements, and they forced most concessions off the table.
Paul Kubal, a driver for Jack Cooper in Detroit Local 299, summed it up: “We beat back the concessions that both the companies and our union bargainers claimed they had to have. We knew times were tough but we stood strong in preserving our contract. That took organization to get it done, and that’s where TDU comes in.”
Despite all the odds against workers battling concessions in the auto industry, carhaulers said No and made it stick.
Tom Landwehr, a driver in Nashville Local 327 who was an observer at the vote count, said he was very nervous as they started the count. It was hard to believe that members could beat the employers and International officials. “But then the No votes just kept piling up.”
Concessions defeated include:
- a tiered progression wage for new-hires;
- Article 53.1 in the West, which would have allowed union carriers to open nonunion terminals;
- the use of GPS to fire drivers;
- a five-tour concession that would have allowed companies to force drivers out for a week;
- and the elimination of equalization of loads between terminals.
Teamster carhaulers didn’t win all they wanted, but they got a taste of what organized members can do. Now they want to build on that start.
“We learned in 2008 that carhaulers can have power when we get informed, spread the word, and work together,” said Ken Kontrath, a PMT driver in San Jose Local 287. “But we also learned that we could achieve a whole lot more if we don’t wait till the last minute. We won’t make that mistake again.”
Carhaulers are organizing now to build a strong national network of members, stewards and local officers, in conjunction with Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU).
Teamsters for a Democratic Union is running a series of stories about Teamster members who made a difference in 2008.
You can help make a positive difference in our union in 2009. Click here to join Teamsters for a Democratic Union and become a part of our movement.
Members Who Made a Difference: Next >
“Carhaul Teamsters learned a great lesson when we voted down the first offer. We beat back the concessions that both the companies and our union bargainers claimed they had to have. We knew times were tough but we stood strong in preserving our contract. That took organization to get it done and that’s where TDU comes in.
“We held conference calls where carhaulers from across the country were able to share information and reinforce opposition to the givebacks. Where would working Teamsters be without TDU? We’d be isolated and discouraged. That’s no way to be a union. So step up today and help us continue the fight to enforce the contract and save our jobs. Join TDU today.” — Paul Kubal, Jack Cooper, Local 299, Detroit
“Owner operators out of Flint voted down the second contract. It didn’t address our issues and we ended up with a worse contract. We need our own supplement.
“We understand the company drivers got changes on most of the proposed concessions so that explains the contract passing. Owner operators need to learn from that fight and organize for our needs. We can push back but, just like the office Teamsters, we don’t have the numbers.
“We’ll need to get all Teamster carhaulers to understand what we face. We need that majority support on the next contract. That’s the union we need to forge.” — J.D. Smith, Allied Owner Operator, Local 332, Flint, Mich.
“It was tough to see the Michigan office supplement bargained away. Our reps claimed it was the best way to defend our jobs. We know they weren’t happy that we held up the last contract. Our loss is the price we had to pay for getting an honest vote count. That said, it shows how important the supplement votes can be.
“We need to prepare now to get stronger language and improvements on the supplements in the next contract.” — Ava Miller, Allied, Local 332, Flint
What do you think? Call (313) 842-2600 or email info [at] tdu.org.
November 14, 2008: In August, Teamster carhaulers stood up, said No to concessions and won an improved contract as a result. But there’s more work to be done.
Carhaulers who are upset with the direction of our industry aren’t giving up. We’re getting organized.
Teamster carhaulers who are upset with the direction of our industry met at the TDU Convention in October to make plans to do something about it.
“We learned in 2008 that carhaulers can have power when we get informed, spread the word and work together,” said Ken Kontrath, a PMT driver in San Jose Local 287. “But we also learned that we could achieve a whole lot more if we don’t wait till the last minute. We won’t make that mistake again.”
The TDU Carhaul Committee is making plans to bring members together in 2009 to enforce our contract, bring Allied back up to full scale, prepare for the next contract just over two years away, and lay the basis for organizing the nonunion competition in the industry.
“We’re going to continue to hold conference calls and meetings to share information nationwide,” said Matt Studd. “Teamsters for a Democratic Union has been there with information and resources for carhaulers who want a new direction.”
“For all my fellow Teamsters who agree that our union is not where it should be, I challenge you to step up and do what’s right: join TDU.”
Help support our work in carhaul. Click here to join TDU.