Saturday, January 30, 2010

ABF, Teamsters to Meet for 'Dialogue'

LTL carrier seeks more even playing field with YRC

ABF Freight System is holding a "dialogue" with the Teamsters union over pension liabilities and labor costs, the company's top executive said yesterday.

"We've had continuing dialogue" with the Teamsters, and "we do have a meeting set with them to discuss our issues," Judy R. McReynolds, president and CEO of Arkansas Best, said in a conference call with investment analysts.

Those issues center on wage and benefits concessions the Teamsters gave YRC Worldwide last August, in effect making ABF a higher cost LTL carrier.

The Teamsters late last year said no talks with ABF were under way after an ABF executive said they had a dialogue and an agreement was expected "soon."

The Teamsters "are aware of our issues," said McReynolds. "They're aware that our cost structure is higher than both the nonunion and union competitors we have out there."

The union and company have a common goal, she said. "We share an interest in growing jobs, and for us that means growing revenue. We're looking forward to that meeting."

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