August 12, 2008: Rank-and-file carhaulers have flexed their muscles and decisively rejected a tentative agreement loaded with concessions.
Their vote will send union negotiators back to bargain a more acceptable contract.
Tom Landwehr, a rank-and-file observer told us from the count site in Maryland that “I was nervous about it this morning, but the No votes just kept piling up. I feel good about our own Local 327—we had a good vote there. The members were just fed up with the massive concessions.”
Landwehr, a Jack Cooper driver, traveled from Nashville to Maryland on his own time and own dime to help ensure a fair vote, as did several others.
The national contract was rejected by 2,939 to 2,076, and all three supplements were rejected as well. The Central-Southern supplement was rejected 2,555 to 1,500, the East by 316 to 304, and the West by 184 to 171.
Most of the bigger locals where members haul out of auto assembly plants rejected the deal, some by big margins. It went down in Kansas City Local 41, St. Louis Local 604, Lansing Local 580, Ft. Wayne Local 414, Dallas Local 745, San Jose Local 287, Lordstown Local 377, Chicago Local 710, Moraine Ohio Local 957 and others. Most of the smaller locals rejected it as well.
It was the massive list of concessions, which would have gutted decades of hard-won contract protections, that sent the proposed agreement down to defeat.
It took something else to win this battle. It took a growing network of carhaul Teamsters, stewards and some local officers who worked together and with TDU to build solidarity and also to safeguard the vote process.
The time is now for the International Union to listen to the rank and file and make some serious improvements before coming back for another vote.
It’s time for rank-and-file carhaulers to continue to build a strong network that can carry the battle forward.
Click here for a breakdown of the ratification vote by local union.
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