Jan 17th 2013 - Negotiations were recessed on Wednesday afternoon. Progress has been proceeding very slowly. The Company continues to seek to undo 50 years of bargaining history and completely rewrite the current agreement by insisting on removing the supplements.
The Company claims that it needs the labor cost savings reflected in its proposal which includes but is not limited to part-timers, split-shifts, and increased use of subcontractors, working across classifications, reduced vacations, and reduction of holidays and the elimination of all supplements. TNFINC has been questioning the purpose and scope of the Company’s proposal. In this regard, TNFINC pointed out that if the Company was truly serious it would have the specific cost savings associated with each of its proposals readily available.
The Company, however, was unable to provide the information and says it will try to provide the information when negotiations resume on January 28. According to TNFINC Co-Chairman Gordon Sweeton “the failure of the Company to have the cost analysis of its specific proposals at its fingertips strongly suggests that the Company was not prepared to engage in legitimate bargaining and that its proposal is simply an overreaching effort designed to bludgeon worker rights.”
In an earlier statement on January 11th, Gordon Sweeton, Co-Chairman of the National ABF Negotiating Committee for TNFINC also said, “We had a rough start this week due to major differences on important issues, but we are hopeful we will make progress in the near future.”
Negotiations will resume next week and are scheduled into March, a full schedule is noted at the bottom of this article. The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) began negotiations with ABF Tuesday, January 8 in Kansas City, Missouri.
On December 19, TNFINC exchanged national and supplemental contract proposals with ABF. “The union is disappointed with ABF’s initial contract proposals that seek to destroy the NMFA (National Master Freight Agreement) standards that have been in effect for decades and served ABF well,” said Gordon Sweeton, Co-Chairman of the National ABF Negotiating Committee for TNFINC on December 20th. “We hope the company will bargain in a traditional manner so that we can make progress on the important issues from the start,” Sweeton said. “The poor state of the economy over the past four years created losses at all large LTL companies and the labor-intensive type of freight operations ABF conducts are issues as well,” Sweeton added. “As for pensions, the company’s pension costs in its largest fund, the Central States, have been frozen the past two years with health and welfare costs only seeing modest increases during that time as well.”
The current contract expires March 31 for the 7,500 drivers, dockworkers, mechanics and clerical staff. On November 29, leaders from local ABF unions unanimously approved the Teamster’s contract proposals.
The ABF Contract Negotiations Time Table is as follows:
There will 3 straight full weeks of negotiations starting January 7th-11th, January 14th-18th, January 28th-February 1st. One week off and then the talks resume again for 2 more weeks on February 11th-15th, and February 25th-March 1st. Meetings are being held in Kansas City, Mo.
For all the updates and history of the ABF talks Click Here