Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Roadway plans to consolidate billing in Toledo

Trucking company Roadway Express Inc. plans to consolidate its national billing operations in Toledo, bringing at least 75 jobs that pay about $20 an hour.
The firm, in its notice this month to the Teamsters who represent the affected workers now in 18 states, said it hopes to complete the move in August. Employees would be permitted to transfer, but the plan could mean some would not, creating employment locally.
Where the office would be is uncertain, but the firm has a trucking terminal at 6180 Hagman Rd.
The company did not return calls yesterday seeking comment. Bill Lichtenwald, president of Teamsters Local 20 in Toledo, said the proposal is far from a done deal, because each of the affected Teamsters locals and the union's top executives would have to agree to it.
"There's always that possibility it could not go through," he said.
However, the company said the consolidated office would mean 78 union jobs in Toledo, including three already here.
Those jobs would pay $20 an hour through the end of the labor contract in May, 2009.
It was unclear whether additional non-union jobs also would be part of the consolidation.
Mr. Litchenwald said Teamsters locals in 17 states that would lose jobs to Toledo have a right to protest.
Each site with the clerical operation typically has one to three employees, but the largest operation is in Atlanta, with 11 jobs, according to the Roadway notice.
Roadway, of Akron, said in its June 7 letter to the Teamsters that the move complies with the National Master Freight Agreement between the company and union. It would allow the company to enhance its competitive advantage, a key item for obtaining approval, by reducing costs, improving shipping accuracy, and permitting more flexibility.
The company now performs the billing operations at many of its terminals, which "creates disruption of freight movement, lower productivity, and reduced quality," the firm said in its letter.
The trucking firm plans to centralize its customer-billing calculation operation in Toledo and to set up a centralized collection department in Los Angeles, with 14 jobs.
The company, in its notice to the union, has proposed an Aug. 22 transfer of affected employees, but Mr. Lichtenwald said the union's hearing process could take two months and a decision is unlikely until September.

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