May 16, 2008: At hearings on May 12-13, the Teamster Freight Division heard Yellow, Roadway and Holland present proposed changes of operations to take advantage of new freight contract language. A few locals spoke out forcefully to include protections for the jobs and seniority of Teamsters, while allowing the companies to use the new “utility employee” language of the contract.
Harrisburg Local 776, a freight local with two large breakbulks, came well prepared to question the companies. As one comment posted on the internet bulletin board TruckingBoards put it, they “kicked some *** for the working class.” They were backed up by a few freight locals, including Lancaster Local 771, Atlanta Local 728, and St. Louis Local 600.
Most locals apparently didn’t raise any issues or question the company. The decision is up to the freight division; a final answer is expected next week.
Issues raised by some local leaders include:
- Protecting the rights of recently laid-off Teamsters. The companies proposed that anyone on layoff as of April 1 (Yellow and USF Holland) or April 11 (Roadway) be excluded from the active bidding pool. Under pressure from the concerned local leaders, this may be adjusted to allow laid-off Teamsters into the pool.
- Protecting the seniority of dock and cartage workers. What is a “larger facility,” where the contract language (Article 3, Section 7) requires a division in the terminal between the utility employee (UE) area and the regular freight?
- It was agreed on the record that any freight (not just expedited freight) can be utility, without restriction. This flatly contradicts promises made in writing by the International Union to sell the contract.
- The issue of “follow the work.” Instead of a normal bidding pool, as in other changes of operations, the company wants to restrict bidding locally, using a “follow the work” principle. This would save YRC some moving expense but weaken seniority rights.
- Protecting the rights of road drivers. One issue is foreign power courtesy. Can a UE pull freight to a terminal where a road driver is rested from that terminal without a violation? Another issue is protecting the work of road drivers on meet-and-turns.
- The issue of UEs being used to take the work of higher seniority dock hands. If work is slow, UEs could come into a break terminal and work six or more hours on the dock, even if dock workers are on layoff status at that terminal.
Delay Implementation of Change?
Reportedly there may be some delay in implementation of the changes. The bid may be in late June and the implementation date may be in late July. One problem: how will they have time to train the dock workers who bid on UE positions?
Truckload Operation Starting
YRC has started to take advantage of another provision of the contract (Article 29, Section 6) allowing a percentage of road work to be subcontracted to a truck load carrier. Apparently that carrier will be Glen Moore, a subsidiary of YRC.
Glen Moore will grant unionization rights to the Teamsters Union, but the deal is that it will be under a contract substandard to the NMFA.
The logic of this contract concession is that freight will move off the rail to this truckload operation. But the fact is, freight has already come off the rail to NMFA road drivers. While the contract allows railing up to 26% of freight, Yellow and Roadway are railing only 21%.
Glen Moore has a limited number of teams pulling Yellow and Roadway trailers, and it will soon increase.