December 7, 2009: In an unprecedented power grab, Hoffa has claimed the authority to abolish the Chicago-area freight contracts, and imposed the National Master Freight Agreement on 2,000 Teamsters, most of whom work for YRC.
The five affected locals—179, 301, 673, 705, and 710—were apparently not even consulted, nor were the members given a vote on abolishing their contracts. The attack came on Nov. 24 via a three paragraph memo.
How can this memo overturn a signed and binding contract between a local union and the employers, which does not expire until 2013? Chicago Teamsters are demanding an answer to that question.
The reason for the power grab became clear a week later when International Vice President Pat Flynn and Freight Director Tyson Johnson showed up at the Chicagoland YRC and Holland terminals to give the members a hard sell to approve concessions.
Essentially it came down to this: vote Yes or YRC will close its doors. The Dec. 8 vote will be after we go to press.
The Chicago locals have bargained separately for 45 years, generally getting the same wage increases but setting a better standard on some terms.
This has benefited all freight Teamsters, because higher standards in one area make it easier for others to win those improvements in the next round.
The late James R. Hoffa once stood in front of the Local 705 membership and urged the freight members to give him the power to bargain their contract. They voted No.
Another Hoffa now wants to deny them any right to vote.
But Chicago Teamsters are not ready to take it lying down.