August 29, 2007: WASHINGTON, DC - Five groups sued today in federal court to block a Bush administration plan to allow Mexico-domiciled trucks to roam the country’s highways as soon as Saturday.
The suit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, maintains that the Bush administration’s pilot program, which authorizes up to 100 carriers based in Mexico to perform long-haul operations within the U.S., violates several key congressional requirements. The groups filing suit include Public Citizen; the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; Sierra Club; Environmental Law Foundation; and the Brotherhood of Teamsters, Auto and Truck Drivers, Local 70. The groups filed an emergency motion asking the court to delay the pilot program before it goes into effect in a matter of days.
Mexico-domiciled motor carriers currently are permitted to operate in the U.S. only in specified commercial zones along the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The Bush administration has for years been pushing to give Mexico-domiciled carriers access to all U.S. highways despite safety and environmental concerns expressed by public interest groups, unions representing truck drivers and lawmakers.
August 23, 2007: Freight wages have fallen drastically, measured against the cost of living, in the past ten years.
In April 1997, a freight Teamster (Central Supplement) made $18.11 per hour.
If that wage rate had just kept up with inflation, today it would be $23.55. The wage today is only $22.11. That’s a $1.44 per hour wage cut in your standard of living.
It’s time for some catch up.
August 23, 2007: We’re overdue for important contract improvements in wages, benefits and job protections.
Our freight wages have fallen, measured against inflation, since Hoffa took office. It’s time for some catchup. Major nonunion carriers pay almost as much.
It’s time for benefit improvements. In the Central States Fund, we need restoration of affordable retiree health care, and we need improvements across the board to protect and improve health and pension benefits.
It’s time for improvements in job security, protection against unnecessary changes of operations, and upgrading conditions in supplements to the highest level.
It’s time to eliminate some past concessions, like the tiered wage. Full wages for all freight Teamsters.
There is no excuse for any concession bargaining in this round. We’ve given more than enough. Yellow Roadway has consolidated its dominance in LTL long haul, and is moving to improve its position in short haul and premium service. ABF seems to have $650 million on hand that they want to pay to bust our Teamster pension funds. They can use that for contract improvements instead.
The IBT Contract Survey sent to all freight Teamsters didn’t seem to get this picture. Right up top, in question two, the survey asked which concession you would rather give: healthcare, pension, or wages! There was no choice of “none.”
It will be up to rank-and-file freight Teamsters to get informed, get involved and get ready. This is our contract.
August 23, 2007: DHL Teamsters are organizing nationally to defend the National Master Freight Agreement and win a good contract for all DHL Teamsters. They’ve already scored one major victory when they forced the Hoffa administration to scrap a “Draft National Agreement” that was riddled with concessions.
For months, some DHL Teamsters have heard about secret bargaining between DHL management and Brad Slawson, an assistant to James Hoffa. Then on July 25, the stinky stuff hit the fan when TDU obtained and posted on www.tdu.org the “Draft National Agreement,” all 77 pages of it. The dirty deal that would gut the NMFA was exposed.
DHL members started to network, by phone, email, in barn meetings, stewards meetings and through TDU’s network. Calls, postcards and petitions poured into IBT headquarters.
The rank-and-file campaign worked. The Hoffa administration has scrapped its “Draft National Agreement.” At a meeting in Detroit on Aug. 20, local unions were instructed to hold proposal meetings for DHL. Teamsters can use those meetings to put forward the DHL network’s demands:
- No surrender of the NMFA.
- Shop stewards should be on the bargaining committee.
- A union fight to upgrade all white paper contracts to the best level.
As more Teamsters learn what’s happening, they are coming on board. The DHL network is growing fast. DHL Teamsters United issued a national leaflet on Aug. 20. A first national conference call was held. A new web forum was opened. And this is just the beginning.
It shows what happens when Teamsters put any political or personal differences aside and get together to defend our national master contract.
Interested Teamsters can call TDU at (313) 842-2600 for the latest info and how to get involved.
August 23, 2007: In August, ABF pulled out of Trucking Management Inc. (TMI), which bargains the National Master Freight Agreement, to bargain separately.
ABF management has let it be known for some time that they would split. ABF CEO Bob Davidson earlier stated that he wants to pull out of Teamster pension plans and force ABF employees into a 401(k).
We need to let him know this isn’t going to happen: ABF always has been part of the NMFA and always will be.
In the past, other carriers have split off. Yellow Freight quit TMI and bargained separately in 1994, but signed exactly the same agreement. The union held them—and all split-off carriers—to the NMFA. This unity has always been Teamster policy, through many General Presidents. ABF needs to hear that this policy still stands.
Hoffa Signals Weakness
DHL management also informed the union that they would try to break from the NMFA. DHL Teamsters responded with unity and action—flooding IBT headquarters with petitions, postcards and phone calls.
This strong answer by the Teamster rank-and-file forced the Hoffa administration to scrap a draft sellout contract. But DHL has detected weakness at the top of our union and will no doubt keep the pressure on.
That’s what corporations do: they go after a weak leadership. ABF is no exception. It’s up to us to get show rank and file unity and strength.
What do you think our union should do to win a strong contract in 2008? Call TDU at (313) 842-2600, or go to www.tdu.org/powerinfreight.
August 23, 2007: Brothers and Sisters,
I am a DHL driver and union committeeman in Pittsburgh Local 249. DHL Teamsters in our local are STRONGLY opposed to any negotiations with the goal of taking DHL out of the NMFA. When we got word that this may be in the works, we shifted into high gear to organize against it.
Thankfully, we gathered a lot of support from other DHL Teamsters around the country who understand the importance of being in a national master contract. Our opposition was heard loud and clear in Washington and the substandard “draft language” was rejected as a starting point for negotiations. This was a great victory for DHL Teamsters.
But is this sham contract dead? DHL still has their bargaining agenda and we need ours. We won round one but now the next fight must be fought. Two things need to happen: Brad Slawson needs to be removed from the bargaining team and DHL stewards need to be in on the negotiations!
What does Brad Slawson know about DHL? He doesn’t even represent a station. He participated in talks with DHL for months with that terrible draft language as the basis for the meetings. That’s no lead negotiator.
Stewards can make a difference. They have the insight into the operations of DHL and know the day-to-day struggles of working Teamsters. They will keep the membership informed and unified.
We need DHL Teamsters to tell your local officials, reps, and Brother Hoffa:
- Keep us in the NMFA. Bring DHL white paper contracts into that agreement.
- Bring DHL stewards on to the bargaining team.
- Remove Brad Slawson as chief negotiator and name a local officer who represents DHL Teamsters under the NMFA.
A unified membership can win a fair and decent contract. That takes organization. Go to www.dhlteamsterforum.com and become part of the network. Together we can win our fair share from this billion-dollar corporation.
Keep the heat on!
Mark Woods, Local 249
August 23, 2007: Truck drivers will return to the 10-hour maximum driving time on Sept. 14, unless the trucking employers are successful in getting the court to stay its July 24 ruling.
As of late August, drivers still don’t know what the regulations will be after Sept. 14. Neither do the carriers.
In a victory for truck drivers and highway safety, the court threw out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) revised rules that allow 11 hours driving time, and a 34-hour restart. All other aspects of the revised hours of service regulations, including the 14-hour maximum on-duty time, will remain unchanged.
The American Trucking Associations, representing UPS, YRC, FedEx and numerous other trucking operators, is lobbying the FMCSA to ask the court for a stay. Their real goal is to get a long delay, and then have the FMCSA go back to the court and again attempt to impose the 11-hour driving rule.
It may not be likely that the court will grant a long delay. This is the second time that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has unanimously struck down these two regulations. The first time, in 2004, the employers got Congress to pass a law imposing the revised hours of service regs on an interim basis. With the leadership change in Congress, and with the second defeat in court, this avenue for delay is very unlikely. So, even if the FMCSA goes to court for a stay, they may get either a short delay or no delay at all in the Sept. 14 implementation date.
Unfortunately, some companies, especially Roadway, realigned their operations on the shaky foundation of an 11-hour rule that was illegitimately established and under legal review. They may soon be turning up the truck speeds or making other adjustments for some of their runs.
August 23, 2007: Sometimes, your vote is your voice. But on the issue of splitting UPS from the Central States Pension Fund, you won’t get a vote, unless you work at UPS.
Because this could weaken our whole union, you should make your voice heard. Go to your September union meeting. Ask your local union officers to take a stand to defend our master contracts, and our Teamster pension plans.
We want stronger pension funds and improved benefits. We want all Teamsters united in solidarity.
Your voice is your vote.
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.