More than 100 groups that are concerned about the direction of newly contentious West Coast port contract talks asked President Obama to name a federal mediator to foster a settlement.
“While the parties to the negotiation stated earlier this year that they would continue operations throughout the negotiations, we have seen crisis levels of congestion at the ports since September,” said the letter signed by American Trucking Associations, the National Retail Federation and the Transportation Intermediaries Association. “Both parties recently issued press releases accusing each other of reneging on this commitment.”
Earlier this week, the Pacific Maritime Association, the management negotiators representing ocean carriers and terminal operators, claimed the International Longshore & Warehouse Union orchestrated slowdowns in Pacific Northwest ports. After the union denied that was the first public outburst since talks began, PMA said similar disruptions began in Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest U.S. ports.
“The sudden change in tone is alarming and suggests that a full shutdown of every West Coast port may be imminent,” said the letter, also signed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association and groups representing importers of goods including shoes and wood products. “The impact this would have on jobs, downstream consumers, and the business operations of exporters, importers, retailers, transportation providers, manufacturers and other stakeholders would be catastrophic.”
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
The six-year port contract expired July 1. Talks began six months ago. The groups expressed concern that there could be a repetition of a 2002 lockout, which for 10 days paralyzed freight transport in the world’s largest consumer market.
Third quarter net income for Fort Smith-based ArcBest was $19.618 million, well ahead of the $13.982 million in the same quarter of 2013, and thanks in large part to an almost 10% gain in ABF Freight revenue.
Per share earnings of 72 cents missed the consensus estimate of 75 cents. Excluding a one-time charge for a pension settlement, the per share earnings were 74 cents.
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The truck driver was once the king of the road, riding high from the 1950s through the 1970s. Sitting up in the tractor, pulling an eighteen-wheler, looking out over America's city streets and country roads and highways, he--back then, the driver was almost always a he--earned a good money, often had health benefits, and may well have had a pension plan.
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A new poll commissioned by a coalition of highway safety groups found that 80% of Americans believe Congress should not raise the number of hours a truck driver can be on the road to 82 hours from 70.
American Trucking Associations called the results “misleading,” while Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called them a “game changer” that shows the public understands “too many hours on the road” leads to crashes.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
October 17, 2014: FedEx Freight workers in Philadelphia voted for this first time to join the Teamsters. Con-way workers in Laredo did the same. How can we build on this momentum?
For the first time in years, there’s excitement in the air about Teamster organizing in the trucking industry. Can we turn that into some real Teamster power?
Local 657 organized the Laredo Con-way terminal. Local 107 lost a vote at FedEx Freight in New Jersey, but then won the NLRB vote at the Philadelphia terminal. These were the first-ever organizing wins at FedEx or Con-way terminals.
The companies are starting to respond, with both threats and pay hikes.
Other locals are taking action. There are organizing votes scheduled at several FedEx Freight and Con-way terminals in the next few weeks, from Los Angeles to Harrisburg Pa. Leaders of several locals report that FedEx Freight and Con-way workers in their areas are ready to organize.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) supports this organizing in a core Teamster industry and urges locals and members to get involved and turn this into a movement.
So far, the International union has not put major resources in the campaign: no financial backing to locals, no boots on the ground.
The IBT Organizing Department has held biweekly conference calls for locals to exchange information, and designed leaflets and signs. That’s a start. But no local union’s resources can be a match for the anti-union campaigns of these corporate giants.
Local unions and freight workers are stepping up to take action. The IBT needs to get behind this movement and help drive it to victory.
The Hoffa administration has to put some power behind our freight Teamsters. The best field organizers are freight Teamsters who are proud of our union.
Troy Justis, an ABF driver in Columbus Local 413 summed it up: “It’s great that we’re finally making some gains in organizing FedEx Freight and Con-way. But if we’re going to win on a wide scale, we need to shore up Teamster pride in freight. That starts with much better contract enforcement.”
FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight, two of the largest non-union LTL carriers in the nation, are battling organizing efforts by the Teamsters union in a closely watched unionization effort.
Workers at FedEx Freight’s Philadelphia facility recently voted 28-16 in favor of representation by the Teamsters union. That follows a rejection of union organization weeks earlier by FedEx Freight workers in Cinnaminson, N.J., a suburb of Philadelphia.
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FedEx Freight drivers at a Philadelphia terminal voted in favor of Teamsters representation, becoming the first workers at the less-than-truckload carrier to become union members.
The vote by a reported 26-18 margin came four days after drivers at the Cinnaminson, New Jersey, terminal voted against becoming Teamsters. The New Jersey vote was the first-ever unionization balloting at the nation’s largest less-than-truckload company. No vote count was disclosed for the New Jersey vote.
Click here to read more at Transport Topics.
Con-way Freight announced a driver pay increase Sept. 30, several weeks before scheduled union representation elections at three Southern California terminals.
Con-way, whose less than truck load unit is the third largest in the United States , said the increase and faster progression to the top rate was tied to the driver shortage.
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I read all the headlines about freight companies desperate to fill job openings. We’re told there’s a driver shortage. Well, that’s what happens when you cut wages and benefits to the bone. Nobody sees it as a decent way to make a living.
When I hired on years ago, a union job with a pension was like hitting the lottery. Now, our contract is next to nothing when it comes to the union enforcing it and our pension is in trouble.
It’s up to Teamster members to get this industry back on track. And it starts with us taking charge and getting rid of the so-called leaders, both locally and nationally, that have no real answers or plans for getting us out of this mess.
We can restore the pride in trucking and it starts with getting involved in TDU and helping all Teamsters take back our union.
Louis Armstrong, YRC, Local 667, Memphis