Friday, February 03, 2006

NLRB rules FedEx drivers are employees

FedEx Corp. drivers in Northboro, Massachusetts, were wrongly classified as independent contractors, a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board has ruled, the Teamsters union seeking to represent the drivers said on Thursday.
The union had argued that drivers for FedEx Ground should be considered employees, making them eligible for overtime and other benefits such as health care and overtime.
The ruling was issued Jan. 24.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents some 1.4 million U.S. workers, said that the 23 drivers at FedEx Ground division FedEx Home Delivery can participate in an election on forming a union in the next month. Full story here......

Workers picket at DHL

Company officials say deliveries continue despite strike.
Employees of a DHL Solutions Inc. contractor began striking the company's Tallahassee office Thursday after working without a contract since last July.
"The guys were getting tired and frustrated about the company not bargaining," said Jim Gookins, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local 991, which represents about 30 workers who voted unanimously in December to authorize a strike.
About 15 workers were manning the picket line Thursday in rainy, windy weather, Gookins said.
The strike was called, he said, after the union put a "last, best offer" on the table in December and received no response from management officials.
The drivers are employed by Commercial Cargo Co., a Tyrone, Ga., company that has a contract with DHL to provide drivers for local DHL deliveries.
Calls to Commercial Cargo seeking comment were not returned.
Richard Gibbs, a spokesman for DHL Solutions, which is headquartered in Plantation, said the company had "implemented contingency plans to ensure that customers in the area are serviced."
We don't anticipate that this is a long-term issue," Gibbs said.
Gookins said he was not sure how long the strike would last.
A news release from DHL said the negotiations were between the employees and Commercial Cargo and that the workers were not DHL employees.
Gookins said the workers decided to strike because Commercial Cargo was not bargaining "in good faith."
The primary strike location was the DHL office on Capital Circle Northwest near Swamp Fox Road. Gookins said a secondary picket line was put up at DHL's facility at Tallahassee Regional Airport.
The union also filed an unfair labor practices complaint last fall with the National Labor Relations Board office in Jacksonville.
The complaint alleges that Commercial Cargo and DHL engaged in "surface bargaining," not responding to union-information requests, and that workers were told they would be fired if they went on strike.
NLRB officials said the process of gathering information about the complaint had begun, and no date has been set for a hearing.
The employees voted in June 2005 to affiliate with the Teamsters' local, and contract negotiations began in July last year.

Transportation Experts Convene for Transformation 06

More than 2,000 transportationand logistics decision-makers are gathered this week at the Mandalay BayResort and Casino in Las Vegas for Transformation 06. The conference bringstogether industry-leading business and logistics experts for personal andprofessional growth. Introduced in 2001, Transformation has quickly become a"must attend" business and logistics event. "Transformation is at the heart of our success," says James L. Welch,president and chief executive officer of Yellow Transportation, the titlesponsor of the conference. "Success today, depends on anticipating the futureand preparing for it. Participating in Transformation 06 is one way Yellowinspires change among employees and the industry." The conference offers participants more than 50 educational sessions ontopics ranging from using supply chain as a competitive advantage tounleashing creativity in the workplace. Keynote speakers include: - General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) and former U.S. Secretary of State - Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Blink - Mike Helton, president, NASCAR - General John Handy, USAF (Ret.) - Williams Zollars, chairman, president and chief executive officer, YRC Worldwide Transformation 06 is hosted by title sponsor Yellow Transportation andprofessionally managed by ProActive, Inc. Sponsors include: Arizona StateUniversity, AT&T, The Center for Services Leadership, Georgia Tech, IBM,Imperial, The Logistics Institute of Georgia Tech, Lucent Technologies,Meridian IQ, Pilot Travel Centers, Sprint, Teradata, Verizon Wireless andVolvo. For more details please visit

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Teamsters Pay Tribute to Coretta Scott King

The following is an official statement by Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa:
With the passing of Coretta Scott King, our nation has lost one of America's true crusaders for equality and justice. Our union mourns her death, and will continue to strive to uphold the values she so courageously championed through volatile times in our nation's history.
Her vision excluded no man, woman or child, regardless of their race or religious beliefs. Hers was a voice of reason, demanding tolerance and acceptance, in a society that often lacks both. While her husband will be forever remembered for his contributions to the civil rights movement, Mrs. King's accomplishments stand on their own merit, securing her place among those who have changed the course of American history.
Mrs. King continued to stand with Teamster members in their fights for fairness and dignity on the job until her passing. I am proud to have marched with her as my father marched with her husband. We are forever grateful for her leadership on behalf of all working people.
Union members everywhere have learned from her example and heed her words: "When you are willing to make sacrifices for a great cause, you will never be alone." -- Coretta Scott King

FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg Resigns

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Annette M. Sandberg will resign her post effective March 1, according to a letter today she sent to The White House. She did not give a reason for her departure.
FMCSA recently has been dogged by legal challenges to its regulations, the most prominent of which involves the truck driver hours-of-service (HOS) rule that regulates the number of hours per day that drivers may operate. Currently there is a petition filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Assn. to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review two aspects of HOS. Some trucking industry observers suggest that Public Citizen and other groups may file their own lawsuits, pending FMCSA's response to their petition. More on the story here........

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

USF purchase helps YRC Worldwide

Trucking company YRC Worldwide Inc., formerly Yellow Roadway Corp., said that buying USF Corp. in 2005 boosted sales and shipping, which in turn helped its fourth-quarter profit rise 26 percent.
Net income rose to $79.8 million, or $1.34 a share, from $63.3 million, or $1.24 a share a year earlier, the company said. Sales rose 40 percent, to $2.48 billion from $1.77 billion.
The company estimated earnings will be $1 to $1.05 a share in the first quarter; earnings in all of 2006 will be $6.15 to $6.30 a share, it estimated.
Yellow Corp. bought Akron's Roadway Corp. in December 2003 to form Yellow Roadway. The company changed its name to YRC Worldwide last month.

Abrupt closure of trucker now in NLRB hands

A federal judge's order has cleared the way for the National Labor Relations Board to consider whether a trucking firm acted properly when it abruptly shut down after a brief strike that started in Philadelphia.
"We think it was reprisal against the employees," said Robert F. O'Brien, a Cherry Hill lawyer who represents several hundred Teamster drivers and warehouse workers, including some who were employed at a Philadelphia terminal where the strike began May 21, 2004.
The company's attorney had no comment.
Two thousand people, including about 200 in Philadelphia, lost their jobs when the company closed. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Petrese B. Tucker in Philadelphia approved a $7 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit involving 1,700 union employees of the defunct Red Star division of USF Corp., of Chicago. USF is now owned by the Kansas-based YRC Worldwide Inc. Full story here.....

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Make 'em Provide Pensions

The long-predicted ice age is settling in on America's private pension system, as companies large and small, profitable and unprofitable, announce the freezing of their traditional plans, the kind that once promised a lifetime income for retirees.
Freezes have been announced recently at firms ranging from International Business Machines Corp. to communications giants Verizon Communications Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. to athletic clothing maker Russell Corp. to textile firm Milliken & Co. to struggling Northwest Airlines Corp. They join a number of bankrupt steel and airline companies, including United Airlines and Bethlehem Steel Corp., that have turned, or are seeking to turn, their pension plans over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the government agency that insures traditional "defined benefit" pensions. Full story here........

Truckers drive at hours-of-service law changes

A Grain Valley-based truckers group has filed a challenge in federal appeals court over new rules regulating the hours a truck driver can work.
The new federal hours-of-service rules took effect in October, but some of its provisions were challenged last August by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) last August.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the body that issues the regulations, denied the OOIDA’s petition, leading to the group’s filing last week with the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.
The group is seeking what it described as two “common-sense changes” to the new regulations.
Under the current rules, drivers can work 14 hours a day with 10 hours of rest. If a driver chooses to split up his rest time, one period must be at least eight hours. The driver can then take a two-hour break later, but those two hours are counted against the driver’s 14 hours of on-duty time.
The OOIDA believes that two-hour rest should not count as part of the on-duty time, said Todd Spencer, the OOIDA’s executive vice president.
“You can’t be totally certain that something won’t hold up, like an accident or traffic jam,” Spencer said. “If you take a break and then something happens down the road, the driver will end up being out of (on-duty) hours.”
Spencer said if a driver needs a two-hour nap, he or she should be able to take it without worrying about taking up on-duty time.
“The rigidity of the rule works as a deterrent against taking that break,” he said.
Spencer said other state trucking associations are not happy with the rule, including the California Trucking Association.
“I don’t know if they’ll join our suit, but they haven’t made any secret of the fact that they don’t like the new regulation,” Spencer said.
The other regulation being contested pertains to two-driver teams that use sleeper berths for rest. The new regulations state that one driver must stay in the sleeper berth for a minimum of eight hours while the other driver is on-duty for those eight consecutive hours.
The OOIDA, along with other groups like the Teamsters union, say driver teams do not work like that. Drivers should be able to rotate in and out of the berths whenever they want as long as they get at least two hours of rest, those groups contend.
“That’s impractical for most team operations,” said Jim Johnston, OOIDA president and chief executive, in a recent issue of its own publication, Land Line Magazine.

Arkansas Best Corporation Receives Debt Rating Upgrade

Arkansas BestCorporation has received an upgrade of its senior unsecureddebt rating from Moody's Investor Service. Moody's raised Arkansas Best'srating to Baa2 with a stable outlook, from Baa3. In today's press release announcing this change, Moody's stated that itsupgrade "reflects Arkansas Best's record of strong operating and financialresults throughout the economic cycle and particularly good peak cycleperformance, the company's modest amount of reported debt and strong creditmetrics, and the consistent record of improving the return on investedcapital." Moody's press release went on to say "The rating also recognizesthe competitive, capital intensive and sharply cyclical nature of the truckingindustry; however, Moody's believes the company has the operating flexibilityand liquidity to remain competitive throughout a down-turn." In addition,Moody's review considered Arkansas Best's contingent obligations for its shareof the unfunded liabilities of each multi-employer pension fund to which itcontributes.