Contract & Campaign Carhaulers Form National Network
May 20, 2015: Over 300 carhaulers joined a conference call on May 14 to form a national network of stewards, officers, and active members to defend their contract and change the national leadership of the union. Now the organizing work will begin.
Carhaulers Kick Off National Network
(reprinted from www.TeamstersUnited.org)
May 15, 2015: Over 300 carhaulers joined a Teamsters United campaign conference call on May 14 to talk about the national contract and the IBT election. General President candidate Tim Sylvester announced that John Thyer is joining the Teamsters United slate.
Thyer, the principal officer of St Louis Local 604, has been a Teamster officer for two decades and a carhauler for nearly four decades. “He is everything that Hoffa isn’t,” Sylvester said.
Members got to talk directly with the candidates and air their issues.
"I'm impressed with the Teamsters United team and confident that their leadership will build back the strength of our union. It was great to hear carhaulers from Wilmington, Tampa, Detroit, Kansas City and everywhere else talking about the issues,” said Steve Burns, an Atlanta Local 528 Teamster at Jack Cooper.
“Under Hoffa, carhaulers feel like we have no voice and no union backing. People are waking up and seeing that this union is in dire straights and we need new leadership. As much as I can possibly do, I’ll do it. I can take days off and travel if I need to because we gotta make it happen,” Burns said.
Fred Zuckerman answered questions on carhaul, the upcoming contract, and the disastrous Hoffa-Hall policies that have driven the Central States Pension Plan into the ditch.
Carhaulers are planning to hold more calls and form a national committee of Carhaulers for Teamsters United, with a representative at every terminal in the country.
Are you a carhauler that wants a new direction in our union? Sign up for updates from Teamsters United.
$50 Million Teamster Win in Louisville
November 11, 2014: Louisville Local 89 and Teamster carhaulers have won a strike victory at Ford, despite getting no support from the Hoffa administration.
Teamsters who transport vehicles from the Ford assembly plant to the rails in Louisville have won a victory—and they have won big.
Their victory puts an end to a dirty deal cut between Ford and contractor Voith Industrial in early 2012, which dumped 161 Teamsters who made $20 an hour and replaced them with newly-hired workers making $11-$14 an hour.
The Hoffa administration delayed and denied strike sanction to Local 89 and blocked its leadership from negotiating a solution with the UAW.
But that didn’t stop Teamsters Local 89.
First, the local won multiple unfair labor practice charges at the NLRB against Voith. Then Local 89 finished the job on the picket line.
It took Local 89 members just four days to win — once the Hoffa administration stopped delaying strike sanction.
Now 161 Teamsters who were on the original seniority board are returning to work with full back pay, benefits, and restoration of their seniority.
Eighty-four more workers hired by Voith since the dispute began in 2012 will get backpay for the wages and benefits they were entitled to under the national carhaul contract too.
The total price tag could surpass $50 million in backpay and benefits; the NLRB will determine the final figure.
Ford has also severed it relationship with Voith. Local 89 Teamsters will be employed by RCS Transportation going forward.
Congratulations to the Local 89 leadership and members. Their victory shows what Teamster power can be.
One local union and its united members defeat a sweetheart arrangement, save over 200 jobs, with full backpay and benefits.
By comparison, Hoffa’s International Union Carhaul Director did nothing while Ford and Voith teamed up in a similar scheme to put Teamster carhaulers in the street in Michigan.
Teamster power in Louisville. A Teamster power outage at the International. It’s time for change.
Click here to read the report on the Local 89 website.
Judge OKs Jack Cooper Bid to Purchase Bankrupt Allied
A federal bankruptcy court has approved the sale of Allied Systems Holdings, once the nation’s largest auto hauler, to Jack Cooper Transport Co. for $135 million.
Cooper already is the nation’s largest auto hauler, but its pending acquisition of Allied means it will have a position of dominance not seen since Allied’s prime.
Cooper’s management said it expects growth in conjunction with expanding U.S. auto sales, which have grown continuously since mid-2011.
“We had unanimous support, and I think that was important to the judge. The Teamsters, the Canadian Auto Workers, customers and creditors — all were on record in support,” said Cooper Chairman Michael Riggs. “This was a very good event.”
Allied entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in June 2012 for the second time in seven years. Judge Christopher Sontchi in Delaware signed the order of approval Sept. 17.
“The sales are the culmination of our efforts to strengthen the financial core of Allied Systems, and through them we have achieved our goal of maximizing the value of the company,” Allied CEO Mark Gendregske said.
The deal, which is all cash except for $10 million, still must be approved by the Justice Department. In addition to the Jack Cooper deal, a small batch of excluded assets — mainly real estate and personal property — will be sold separately.
Riggs said he would merge Allied Automotive Group, the company’s car-haul operations, into Jack Cooper. He said he anticipates 2014 revenue for the merged company of nearly $1 billion.
The company will have 70 to 75 terminals in the United States and Canada; 3,500 working car-haul rigs and another 500 spares; and 3,500 to 4,000 drivers. Allied and Cooper employees are represented by the Teamsters union.
Riggs said he will operate Allied’s Axis Group subsidiary as a stand-alone automotive transport logistics company.
“This is as good an outcome as we could have hoped for,” said Roy Gross, director of the Teamsters’ car-haul division. “Our members were almost collateral damage in the fight between the two groups of lenders. The judge acknowledged that this was ‘a very difficult case’ and that Allied was in danger of ‘dying on the vine.’ ”
In 2003 — two years before its first bankruptcy — Allied ranked No. 22 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of for-hire carriers (it was named Allied Holdings then) and traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Its annual revenue from the previous year was $898.1 million, although it did have a net loss of $7.53 million. The next largest autohauler was United Road Services, with $248.7 million in revenue.
Allied’s history also includes a role in American Trucking Associations, with Guy Rutland Jr. serving as chairman in 1957-1958, and his son, Guy III, in 1987-1988.
Allied filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2005 and was delisted by the American Stock Exchange later that month. In June 2007, it emerged from bankruptcy as Allied Systems Holdings and was owned by Yucaipa Cos.
In June 2012, Allied filed Chapter 11 again. SJ Consulting estimated Allied’s revenue at $305 million at the time, good enough for third place among car haulers behind Cooper, first with $500 million, and United Road Services in second place with $325 million.
The company did not report revenue and therefore is not ranked in the current TT Top 100.
Riggs, who bought Jack Cooper from its founding family in 2009, said he thinks size will be the key to the success for which he is hoping.
“It helps in minimizing empty miles, which can be 50% to 75% in this industry,” Riggs said. In contrast, truckload carriers usually try to keep empty miles, or deadhead, below 10%.
Riggs said the car-haul sector is beset with high deadhead because car-haul rigs can move only cars and pickup trucks. However, by adding terminals, he thinks it improves the odds of getting at least a partial backhaul.
“It’s a density strategy: The more terminals you have, the more you can build economies of scale,” he said.
Prior to the recession in 2007, U.S. auto sales were about 16 million a year, but by the fall of 2009, the annualized rate hit bottom at 9.36 million. This year, they are on pace to top 15 million.
Riggs said he thinks car sales will keep growing and hit 18 million vehicles a year within three or four years.
Know Your History To Make More History: The Battle For Our Contract Rights
We have a legal right to a fair and informed vote on our national contracts. But our rights have not come without Teamsters for a Democratic Union taking on big battles. Here is a summary of some key legal – and membership – victories involving our rights in national Teamster contracts.
We Won the Right to a Fair and Informed Vote
Bauman v Presser. This case set a precedent for a “fair and informed” vote. We obtained an injunction stopping a UPS national contract vote and requiring a do-over on fair terms. As Bill Bauman (who was a steward in St Louis Local 688) stated at the time: “We won a democratic voice in collective bargaining for Teamster members.” Without this victory, Hoffa-Hall could mail out proposed contracts or supplements for a vote without any prior information available or adequate time for debate among members.
We Won the Right to Vote on Supplements and Riders
Davey v Fitzimmons. In this case we claimed that some supplements to the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) were so different, they required separate membership votes. We lost; the court gave the IBT leadership wide latitude to interpret the IBT constitution, and said we had to change the constitution if we wanted separate votes on supplements and riders. TDU Organizer Ken Paff was one of six plaintiffs.
We then built a movement to do just that, and succeeded at the 1991 IBT Convention; working closely with a good Teamster leader, then Harrisburg Local 776 president Tom Griffith, and with some fine work by reform delegates to the Convention to overcome the opposition of the IBT officials. That victory gave members more power to win better contracts.
Without this victory, the UPS contract would have been all over back in June.
We Won the Right to Observers at the Contract Vote Count
McCuiston v Hoffa. A consent order coming out of this carhaul contract case gave us the right to have rank and file observers at contract vote counts. Prior to this, the Hoffa administration handpicked a few observers – and not from all supplements and riders – who were not independent and kept secret from members what happened at the count. This is a crucial step for transparency and fair contract votes.
We Won Majority Rule on Contracts
In the Harmon case, we challenged a national contract vote where 64% voted no, but the union imposed the “2/3 to reject a contract” rule. We argued some members had been denied ballots, enough to possibly make it 2/3 No. Pressure built on the issue, and finally the IBT leadership conceded, and granted Teamster members majority rule, which is written into the IBT Constitution. This was a huge victory – UPS knew they only had to get 1/3 of voters to approve a contract. TDU fought to win majority rule for years, and it was finally won.
We Won the Right to Access all Proposed Supplements and Riders
In the Braxton case we won the right to get all tentative agreements for all supplements and riders, at the time of the “two-man” meeting, so that we can make them available to all members before voting. Prior to this victory, members only had access to their own supplement to the national contract and “highlights” or IBT PR. John Braxton was a UPS worker in Philadelphia who also worked for Teamster president Ron Carey. Now you can find the supplements and riders posted on www.TDU.org, and the IBT (in response to TDU) posts them as well.
We Won the Right to Quarterly Central States Fund Financials
When the Central States Pension and Health and Welfare Funds refused to give members access to quarterly financial and special-counsel reports which were filed with the court, we intervened and won in court. (The lead plaintiff, Tommy Burke, is a retired UPS driver in North Carolina.) The quarterly financial and analytical reports are available to members only on www.TDU.org.
Members of TDU are proud of this history. We believe these victories have made our union stronger, and given members a seat at the table. We thank the members who made this possible through their support, and we thank our great legal team.
You can help us make a lot more history with your support of Teamsters for a Democratic Union, the national network of Teamster reformers working together for a strong and democratic Teamsters Union.
Carhaul: Jack Cooper Buys Allied
September 17, 2013: Jack Cooper Transport has won the bid to purchase Allied Systems, and will now be by far the largest carhaul operator in North America.
Cooper CEO Mike Riggs says the combined carrier will have $1 billion in revenue in 2014. Cooper will pay $135 million – with borrowed money – for Allied, and the deal was approved by the creditors committee overseeing Allied's bankruptcy, with the approval of the Teamsters International Union.
This means the Teamster national carhaul contract will include only two major carriers, with Cassens being the second.
Transport Topics' report on the deal is available here.
Jack Cooper Says It Has Won Contest to Purchase Bankrupt Rival Allied
Automobile hauler Jack Cooper Transport was named the winning bidder to buy its bankrupt rival, Allied System Holdings, following an auction in Delaware Bankruptcy Court last week, Mike Riggs, chairman of Cooper, told Transport Topics on Sept. 12.
A judge is scheduled to formalize the ruling Sept. 17 as part of Allied’s Chapter 11 proceedings. The companies are two of the top three auto haulers in the United States.
“I’m happy to report we had unanimous support by all the committees,” Riggs told TT following a two-day auction sanctioned by the court.
If approved, the deal “will probably take Jack Cooper Transport to $1 billion in revenue in 2014,” Riggs told TT. “It’s a huge event and will give us about 4,000 [total] trucks and trailers.”
He said Cooper’s $135 million bid was approved by committees representing Allied, its creditors and the Teamsters union.
The Teamsters union — which has about 1,000 members at Allied — said it would consider a strike if its existing contract at Allied was negated by new owners, including Allied creditors Black Diamond CLO and Spectrum Investment Partners LP, which also were expected to bid on the company.
Jack Cooper submitted “the best bid for the estate and the future of the company,” Roy Gross, director of the Teamsters’ car-haul division, said in a statement earlier this month.
Cooper ranks No. 53 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers and is the largest car hauler on the list, with more than 2,000 rigs and $500 million in annual revenue.
Allied has filed for bankruptcy twice, in 2005 and in June 2012. It is majority-owned by Yucaipa Cos. and is the third-largest motor vehicle carrier, behind Cooper and United Road Services.
During its first bankruptcy filing, Allied won a 15% wage cut from the Teamsters through 2010, when full wages were restored. In 2011, the Teamsters negotiated a contract through 2015 with the car haulers’ bargaining agent, the National Automobile Transporters Labor Division.
Performance Transportation Services, then the second-largest car hauler, shut down in 2008 following a strike by Teamsters members as the national recession was beginning.
Atlanta-based Allied had about 1,700 rigs and 2,100 trailers, according to August 2013 U.S. Department of Transportation data.
The pending sale comes against the backdrop of rising automobile sales after several years of stagnation. Car sales jumped 17% year-over-year in August to an annual rate of more than 16 million units, the highest level since the recession.
The U.S. big three automakers — General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group — all reported double-digit volume increases for the month, WardsAuto.com reported.
“It’s a good time to be a car hauler,” said Bob Farrell, executive director of American Trucking Associations’ Automobile Carriers Conference.
“Capacity is tight, we’re still moving cars and there’s a movement afoot to increase capacity,” Farrell told TT. “Also, credit markets are not as tight as they used to be for carriers to place orders for new trucks and trailers.”
Black Diamond, Spectrum and Yucaipa were in litigation with Allied before its bankruptcy, Bloomberg News reported last week. Allied’s debt includes $244 million on a first-lien loan and $30 million on a second-lien obligation, Bloomberg reported. Yucaipa has $134.8 million of the senior debt and $20 million of the second-lien loan.
The loans have been in default since 2009, and Allied’s previous reorganization, which ended in 2007, gave creditors $265 million in first-lien debt plus $50 million on a second-lien obligation, Bloomberg reported.
Hoffa OKs Deals to Undermine Carhaul Contract
May 24, 2013: In April Hoffa's Carhaul Director, Roy Gross, blocked from going to arbitration a work preservation grievance which challenged Jack Cooper's new substandard division.
Instead the International and the employers routed the grievance—which was researched and filed by Local 89—to the national panel, where they can quietly bury it.
Why would our International union want to help Jack Cooper set up an owner-operator division that operates without terminals, assigns drivers in the Midwest to Local 251 in Rhode Island, and pays sub-contract pensions and rates?
Carhaulers and their local union reps should ask that question of Gross and Hoffa.
Jack Cooper Specialized Transport claims to be hiring 200 drivers, although they seem to have only succeeded in hiring a small number so far under the terms they are offering and the International union has approved.
Now Jack Cooper has opened Jack Cooper Logistics, which brags on their website that they can "tap over 400 [nonunion] trucking companies." They trip lease loads which should be hauled by Teamsters.
The point of having a union is to defend good union jobs. The Carhaul Division is failing that basic obligation, and will continue to fail unless pressure is put on them to change.
Allied Systems To Be Sold
In a letter to all employees, Allied CEO Gendregske announced that Allied will be sold to the company's primary lenders, or to a higher bidder. He said he expects the sale to take place in late July or early August.
Hoffa Administration OKs Carhaul Sweetheart Deal
April 3, 2013: Rhode Island Local 251 signs a substandard deal covering carhaulers in Kansas City, undercutting the national contract in the process. It reads like an April Fools story, but unfortunately it’s real, and Hoffa’s Carhaul Director signed off on it.
Jack Cooper Transport’s goal is to have a mobile force of underpaid owner-operators who fill in all over the Midwest and the country, as needs arise to haul cars from plants and rail yards.
Now Local 251’s principal officer Joe Bairos has made the company’s dream a reality.
Bairos inked a four-page contract rider that allows the company to set up an owner-operator division called Jack Cooper Specialized Transport.
The rider provides for pension payments of $3 per hour, instead of the $8.55 contract rate. The owner operators are reportedly paid less than Allied’s owner operators, who get full pension benefits.
Supposedly they will haul used cars and not do work presently done under the national carhaul contract, but that is a fiction. So is the part of the rider that claims the owner-operators will work out of a terminal. This is a roving substandard workforce that will undermine jobs and standards of the national contract—unless the deal is stopped. .
Jack Cooper already tried to use this group to haul traffic out of Chicago, but the pay was so low the owner operators refused, and the company was forced to use regular drivers to haul the work. Then Jack Cooper abandoned the traffic.
Why would Carhaul Director Roy Gross sign an approval of this deal which undermines the national contract he is paid to defend? Carhaulers are demanding to know.
At present the operation has only a handful of drivers; but the company’s recorded recruiting message says they plan to hire 200. This deal needs to be reversed, before the problem snowballs.
Why did the honor of signing the sell-out go to Joseph Bairos, the head of Local 251?
It’s not hard to connect the dots. Bairos is a good friend of Paul Houck, a former Teamster officer who turned against the union and went to work with Jack Cooper management.
When Houck needed a local to sign a sweetheart agreement that undercut other Teamster locals, he turned to Bairos.
Bairos never met a weak contract that he didn’t like –and happily signed on for his old buddy Houck. When Bairos inked the deal, there were not even any carhaulers hired to ratify the contract. The carhaulers who have since been hired under the deal live in places like Kansas City, which is 1,475 miles from Providence Local 251.
It’s a sweet deal for Bairos who gets the dues money, but not the hassle of representing any nearby members. But it’s a bad deal for Teamster carhaulers, our national contract, and the integrity of our union.
This same proposal was rejected by the Teamster negotiating committee in the last contract bargaining. It should not be allowed as a mid-contract concession.
What can be done? Louisville Local 89 has filed NLRB charges against the employer, Local 251 and the International union, as well as a grievance on diversion of work, a violation of the Work Preservation agreement. Carhaulers have also asked TDU about a possible lawsuit.
But the most important thing to do right now is for carhaulers and local unions to demand that the Carhaul Division change course and break up this sweetheart arrangement, or any deal which violates and undermines the national contract.
NLRB Judge: Carhaulers Win Jobs and Backpay
January 23, 2013: An NLRB judge has ruled that Voith Services conspired with the United Auto Workers (UAW) to deprive over 100 Louisville Teamsters of their jobs and their union contract. The decision orders Voith to put 85 of the Teamsters to work, pay them nearly a year's back-pay, reinstate the superior terms of the Teamster contract, and void the bogus deal the company signed with the UAW.
The December 21 ruling is a decisive win for the Teamsters. The 40-page decision details how Voith, with Ford Motor pulling the strings, underbid Jack Cooper at Ford's Louisville Assembly Plant for some 166 jobs moving and baying new cars, using a substandard contract with the UAW.
The case was heard in a 13-day trial in August, September and October 2012.
The yard work at the plant had been under the Teamster contract since 1952, until early 2012 when the dirty deal was put in place. Teamsters who made $20 per hour, with a union pension, were replaced by UAW members making $11-$14 per hour.
Typically decisions such as this are subject to lengthy appeals. This case is so egregious that the NLRB's General Counsel is requesting an injunction from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to speed up the process. A district court judge declined to issue an injunction.
Hopefully justice will not be delayed much longer.
The judge's decision orders that:
- 85 named Teamsters must be put to work. Other Teamsters must be given a chance to apply for jobs.
- Back pay must be awarded, on the basis of the Teamster contract.
- The pre-existing Teamster contract must be reinstated in full, until a new contract is negotiated with Local 89.
- The UAW contract is voided, because it was the product of illegal discrimination against Teamster workers and collusion between the corporation and the UAW.
- The decision's orders must be posted on bulletin boards, on the web, and read aloud at meetings of all workers.
Hoffa: MIA in Carhaul
The International Union was MIA in the struggle by Local 89 and carhaul members.
In fact, this victory of Teamster jobs and over $5 million in back pay didn't even rate a mention on the IBT website, until this fact was prominently pointed out on www.TDU.org. Then the Hoffa administration decided to claim the credit, falsely describing a "coordinated effort" by the IBT, the Carhaul Division and Local 89.
Hoffa's carhaul director, Roy Gross of Detroit Local 299, has stood by while Voith took Teamster jobs at Ford plants in Michigan. It appears that Local 89 has won what Hoffa and Gross gave away.