Local 604 Demands Retraction
April 4, 2007: When Teamster members at Allied got their ballots to vote on proposed concessions, they were told "There is Only ONE Plan to Save Allied."
But another investment, Sopris, has released a proposed term sheet to buy Allied.
Local 604 Secretary Treasurer John Thyer has written a letter to Hoffa demanding that he send a written retraction to every member.
Allied: Real Leadership Is Needed
April 2, 2007: Allied Teamsters are currently voting on concessions that could gut the carhaul national contract. The votes will be counted on April 16. Thanks to action in federal court by TDU’s attorney, there will be pro and con observers.
Allied Teamsters have a difficult choice. They know a bankruptcy judge could impose concessions even if they vote No. Even worse, they have gotten no leadership from the Hoffa administration.
Teamsters have been fed lies and threats. Maybe lies and threats will get the concessions passed. But they won’t save our union in carhaul or protect Teamster jobs. A union plan—not just the corporate plan for concessions—is needed to save our jobs and our contract.
The time for real leadership is now.
On March 28, Sopris, an investor group seeking to buy and operate Allied, filed a motion in court containing a term-sheet offer to Teamsters for smaller concessions than are in the Yucaipa deal.
Specifically, Sopris is proposing $30 million a year in concessions instead of $35 million, and sweetening it with stock in the new Allied to Teamsters. The motion is a public document filed in court, available on the web.
Allied management, supported by the Hoffa administration, has selected the Yucaipa offer and is going forward in court on that basis.
You will never learn any of this from the Hoffa administration. They are too busy producing lies about TDU and threats to Allied Teamsters.
Teamsters for a Democratic Union is not suggesting that Sopris is the best buyer for Allied. We believe in bargaining with corporate owners, not smooching them. But, when a second bidder comes into the picture, and begins to offer more to you, don’t you use that for bargaining leverage? Of course.
But it’s hard to bargain with an employer when you can’t get your lips off his backside. We have nothing against Ron Burkle. He may well be the better choice to take over Allied. But we do think there is room to bargain, and the time to do it is now.
It’s time for a union plan to save the national carhaul contract.
It’s time to stop lying about everyone who disagrees with you. Look at the lies the IBT sent out in just one week:
The ballot mailing, received in late March, said if Allied Teamsters vote No, Allied will liquidate and everyone will lose their jobs.
But the March 21 IBT web posting had a different story: if Allied Teamsters vote No, a bad investor (Sopris) will take over instead of Ron Burkle.
It also claimed that TDU was in a plot with Allied management (Hugh Sawyer).
Then the March 29 announcement by the IBT reversed that one: it stated that Allied management (Hugh Sawyer) is actually part of the Yucaipa plan.
So many lies, it’s hard to keep up with which one is the latest.
If the Hoffa administration would put as much effort into protecting the jobs and contract of carhaulers as they do into lies and cover-ups, they would earn the respect of Allied Teamsters, and all Teamsters.
Teamster carhaulers will unite behind a plan to win. Then the IBT would not have to threaten and bully to get Yes votes, because members would proudly vote Yes.
Carhaul Teamsters: get the latest information by calling the TDU office at 313-842-2600 or at tdu [at] tdu.org. Or click here to send a message.
Forbes: Justice Department Objects to Allied Outline
March 29, 2007: The Justice Department and Allied Holdings Inc.'s shareholders are urging the bankruptcy court not to approve the auto hauler's Chapter 11 plan disclosure statement.
A New Bidder to Operate Allied: Vote No
March 19, 2007: Sopris Capital, an investment firm, has made a bid to the bankruptcy court to take over Allied, with a proposal filed on March 15, 2007. Sopris’ proposal states that they will put forth “$100 million in capital expenditures” and “the Yucaipa Plan calls for the sale of the Canadian operations [to Yucaipa!]…the Canadian operations represent a…disproportionately high amount of operating income.”
Also, Automotive New reported in their March 12 edition that Yucaipa is not the heroic savior we’ve been told. “Burkle’s company [Yucaipa] stands to profit from its efforts—the reorganized Allied will be a cash cow. Financial forecasts project the hauler will turn a $20.3 million profit this year and leap to $42.2 million next year.”
Put these two facts together. Vote No. Save the carhaul contract and negotiate short term, more reasonable concessions.
Balloting Being Watched
The Allied ballots were mailed out on March 19 to 4,262 addresses. Two observers were present to watchdog the mailing, the sealing of the unused ballots, and able to meet with the Election Supervisor. Thanks to Local 299 members Gary McCuiston and Donna McCuiston for their good work as today’s observer team. Observers are there and will be at the count due to the successful lawsuit filed by TDU attorney Barbara Harvey. If you want to help support our democratic rights, join or donate to Teamsters for a Democratic Union today.
Read about the competing bid to operate Allied.
Read the Automotive News report on Allied's expected windfall.
It's Up to Allied Teamsters Now
March 15, 2007: Ballots on the tentative concessionary deal covering 3,300 Teamsters at Allied Holdings are now re-scheduled to be mailed on March 19, and should be in the hands of Allied Teamsters soon after that. The decision is now in the hands of Allied Teamsters.
Allied Teamsters who are opposed to the concession deal will observe the vote count on April 16, thanks to a stipulated consent order won in federal court by Teamsters for a Democratic Union attorney Barbara Harvey. Donna McCuiston (Local 299 Allied) and Ava Miller (Local 332 Allied) will be among the observers.
Sisters Miller and McCuiston were plaintiffs in the case McCuiston et al. v. Hoffa et al., Civil Action No. 04-70047, which won observer rights. The case was filed after the 2003 contract vote count was proven to be falsified, at least for the Michigan Office Supplement to the national agreement.
At a Detroit Local 299 meeting on March 11, members called upon the local to pay the expenses and lost time for sister McCuiston and additional observers. Local 299 president Kevin Moore agreed that the local union will cover those expenses. The same issue was raised in Flint Local 332.
Members who want to ensure that there are sufficient observers at the count and that carhaulers’ rights are defended, can donate to Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), and earmark it for this purpose. Call TDU at (313) 842-2600 regarding the vote count. Also visit www.tdu.org.
In some locals, Allied Teamsters are organizing to xerox all their marked ballots, sign them and keep all of them as a record of the local union vote. The contract vote will be counted separately by Local Union.
International Leader: “If I were to vote today, I would vote no.”
Terry Hewer, Local 299 Carhaul Director and co-chair of the national carhaul committee, told Detroit Allied Teamsters on March 11 that “If I had to vote today, I would vote no.” He said the same thing at the Memphis Local 984 meeting on March 10. He went on to state that although that is his heart-felt sentiment, he hoped that members would think it over and vote Yes. Go figure.
The International Union can still renegotiate this deal, rather than just present it as take-it-or-leave-it. Now is the time for leadership.
Canadian Allied Teamsters Stand United
As U.S. Allied Teamsters may soon be voting on drastic concessions, Allied Teamsters in Ontario and Quebec are standing united, with pensions and wages being key issues.
The next bargaining round is set for early March, but with the report that PTS is buying Allied-Canada, a question mark hangs over the negotiations.
Allied employs about 700 Teamsters in Eastern Canada, more than the other companies—PTS, Cassens, and Gen Auto—combined. PTS has already settled with the Teamsters, for a cheap raise of just one cent per running mile for each of the three years in the contract.
In January the Allied stewards walked out on their union leaders from Toronto Local 938 over the issue of winning the right to elect their pension trustees for the Eastern Canadian car carriers’ pension plan. The stewards on the bargaining committee want that guaranteed in the contract, to protect their pension from a takeover.
The wage issue has not yet come to the table. With Yucaipa’s deep pockets now in the picture, Allied Teamsters are not going to be in the mood to give anything away.
One Allied driver told us “Time is on our side now. We’re not going to settle short, especially with the stewards united.”
Teamsters in the U.S. and Canada are in important struggles to maintain our contracts—it’s time for solidarity of all Teamsters at Allied-PTS. United against concessions on both sides of the border, we all win.
Hoffa Softens Up Carhaulers for Concessions
When your union president writes to you that “it may or may not be that some modifications to the contract are necessary,” then sit on your wallet, because someone may be reaching for it. On Jan. 9, Teamster President James Hoffa wrote that to 3,700 U.S. carhaulers who work for Allied. Many more Canadian Teamsters work for Allied, where it is not in bankruptcy.
Any possible concessions agreed to by the IBT would have to be approved by carhaulers in a referendum vote, per our union constitution.
At the same time, the investment group Yucaipa and investor Ron Burkle have been playing an active role in developing a plan for Allied’s future, and also purchased much of PTS’s debt. PTS (Performance Transportation Services) owns three carhaul carriers: Leaseway, E&L, and Hadley. If Yucaipa acquires both companies, the combined operations would include some 70 percent of the unionized carhaul industry.
With Yucaipa possibly ready to take on hauling the majority of all cars in North America, it seems the wrong time to be offering concessions to Allied, which has been struggling for years and operating in bankruptcy for the past 18 months.
Allied is asking the bankruptcy court for an extension of time for its plan to emerge from bankruptcy.
We asked a number of Allied Teamsters why they thought that the IBT leadership might be ready to give concessions at this time. Detroit Allied driver J. D. Jackson summed it up: “The IBT election is over, and the next one is five years away.” Jackson was formerly an International rep and once headed the IBT Carhaul Division. Several other Allied Teamsters told us pretty much the same thing.
Last month, Forbes magazine’s online edition reported: “This spring Yucaipa paid $100 million to buy a controlling stake in Allied Holdings, a trucking outfit in bankruptcy proceedings. ‘(Former President) Clinton got it to the point where Hoffa actually helped us with that deal, something I couldn’t have gotten on my own,’ Burkle says.”
Why would Hoffa help Ron Burkle take over Allied at a bargain price, only to turn around and give Burkle concessions?
Members in the Dark
The International Union is keeping the rank and file in the dark about plans. In Hoffa’s letter, he gives a website address for members to get “the latest information.” Unfortunately, it’s a wrong website address that leads nowhere. When you do find the right address, the latest posting on it is from last June.
We need a plan to save our union in carhaul and organizing to defend this strong union sector, and we need membership involvement to make it work.
L.A. Times: Yucaipa Plans to Buy Allied
March 5, 2007: From the LA Times: "On Friday, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing in Georgia disclosed plans for Yucaipa to take over Allied Holdings Inc."
Yucaipa May Purchase Allied
Carhaul Contract Under Fire
July 2006 - Allied Automotive Group’s 3,800 US Teamsters got a raise on July 1 when the 10 percent cut imposed by the bankruptcy court expired without being extended. Just as important to carhaulers was the news that Yucaipa Companies, a Los Angeles firm controlled by billionaire investor Ron Burkle, is taking an interest in acquiring Allied.
Allied withdrew its motion in court to extend the 10 percent pay cut for another three months, when their own records showed that they made an operating profit in May and had not drawn on the credit they said they would need to continue.
Yucaipa bought $100 million of Allied debt from Morgan Stanley for about $70 million and is looking to possibly take over Allied. Top management figures have indicated they are hostile to this move; presumably they will be gone along with CEO Hugh Sawyer if Yucaipa does acquire the biggest carhaul company in North America.
Behind the scenes Yucaipa has contacted the Teamsters Union. Burkle is a prominent Democrat and presents himself as union-friendly; this is not the first troubled unionized company he has moved to take over.
Allied Systems Goes to Court to Cut Wages
Allied Systems, the largest carhauling corporation, is going to court on April 26 to void the contract covering 4,000 U.S. Teamsters and impose a 10 percent wage cut. Management claims that the company will suffer irreparable harm as soon as May if they don’t get the cuts immediately. They are also demanding that the June 1 contractual raise be eliminated.
In mid-April, the company advised all U.S. Teamsters that they anticipate court approval and that they will cut all wages by 10 percent on April 30 if this approval is granted.
The International Union responded by demanding more detailed financial information from the company on its financial status. While a good start, this response seems entirely inadequate to the situation, which threatens to shatter a national Teamster contract.
In a similar situation with the largest auto supplier company, Delphi, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has threatened to strike if their contract is voided in bankruptcy court, and the tactic has brought General Motors into the bargaining picture. GM cannot afford a strike that will interrupt its product flow.
Our union needs a plan to fight back. And the entire labor movement and our allies need to take on this corporate scam, which is already infecting two major industries and could spread to more.