April 20, 2007: On May 9, a hearing in federal bankruptcy court in Georgia could mark a new era for Teamster carhaulers. The Yucaipa investment company is poised to take control of some 65 percent of the carhaul industry in North America, and operate a good bit of it with wages 17 percent below union scale. The days of monopoly management are upon us.
Yucaipa is controlled by Ron Burkle, a billionaire investor that the Hoffa administration has trumpeted as our savior. There is even a tribute to Burkle posted on the IBT website that praises him as a “friend to unions”. This is probably the one and only Billionaire Tribute on any labor website anywhere.
No billionaire employer is going to rebuild Teamster Power in carhaul. That’s our job. We need a union plan to address the crisis in carhaul. The Carhaul Division should call a working conference, not just of officers, but stewards, to discuss the way forward. It’s time to unite for the future.
Bargaining for the new carhaul contract will start by the end of this year. Other carriers—Jack Cooper and PMT, Cassens, and Active—are now pressing to get concessions like the 17 percent reduction given to Allied. Burkle will do the same with his PTS operation. Industry analysts expect him to position PTS and Allied for eventual merger to achieve greater density and efficiency. Carhaulers are asking how Allied can be part of the same master contract, while making 17 percent less. More than ever, we need an effective organizing program.
If the Hoffa administration wants to lead a campaign to save our contract, Teamsters, including TDU members, will get behind them in that effort. But we can’t hold our breath waiting for that.
Carhaulers in TDU will do what is needed to make it happen. But we need more input from concerned Teamsters. Carhaulers in Teamsters for a Democratic Union have a proud history and believe together we can build a strong Teamster future. We invite you to contact us to find out how you can be part of making it happen.