Saturday, May 27, 2017
"Stephanie has been a key contributor on nearly every aspect of our financial operations, including our successful refinancing efforts," said James Welch, YRCW CEO. "As CFO she will continue to build on her exemplary career with YRCW."
"I want to thank James and my fellow team members at YRCW for this extraordinary opportunity," said Fisher. "I am proud of what we have accomplished and excited to be a part of the company's future as a leader in the transportation industry."
About Stephanie Fisher
Before being named CFO of YRC Worldwide, Fisher served as Acting CFO and Vice President and Controller of YRCW since January 2017, and immediately before that as Vice President and Controller of YRCW since May 2012. She joined the company in 2004 and has more than 15 years of experience in accounting, financial analysis and corporate compliance. As Controller, Fisher oversaw a wide array of financial reporting functions and played a lead role in YRCW's operational forecasting, external audit processes, investor relations, compensation and benefits.
Prior to serving as Controller, Fisher served YRCW in a variety of roles of increasing importance, including serving as Director of Financial Reporting. She began her career at the accounting firm Ernst & Young in the assurance and advisory practice, where she served clients in the retail and consumer products industries.
Fisher earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master of accountancy degree from Kansas State University.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Much of the ire was directed at Bradley Jacobs, XPO's chief executive officer, who was in attendance at the meeting held at the company's headquarters here. Jacobs was on the receiving end of a recent $20 million "mega-grant," a pay giveaway that caused leading independent proxy advisor Institutional Shareholders Services (ISS) to recently issue its opposition to XPO's advisory vote on executive pay, the so-called "Say-on-Pay" vote, that was voted on today.
"It is time for XPO CEO Bradley Jacobs to explain to company workers why he is entitled to a huge payout while he cuts the health care and retirement benefits of workers who are making this company so successful," said Monica Abraham, a quality control inspector for XPO in North Haven, Conn. who spoke at the shareholder meeting. "Workers shouldn't be punished while Jacobs gets rich off our backs!"
ISS also previously recommended investors support a Teamsters-sponsored shareholder resolution calling for enhanced disclosure of XPO's human capital management performance, among other sustainability practices. Voting results on both items were not immediately made available.
Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall said both proposals should be of interest to investors. "Shareholders have good reason to be concerned when it comes to excessive CEO pay and XPO's corporate practices," he said. "Its corporate practices are not in their best interests."
Meanwhile, European workers for the company said the fight against corporate greed and for fairness on the job is not only necessary for American workers. XPO is increasing engaging in anti-union worker behavior in Europe as well.
"It is ridiculous that Bradley Jacobs refuses to answer to his own employees about his company's corporate practices that imperil their livelihoods," said Sam McIntosh, a lead organizer with the International Transport Workers Federation. "European XPO workers stand in solidarity with their American compatriots because they too know the effects of the company's increasingly shady business practices."
U.S. workers have asked to meet with Jacobs on several occasions, to no avail. XPO is one of the world's largest global third-party logistics companies, providing transportation and logistical services to 63 percent of Fortune 100 companies.
The bill is co-sponsored in the Senate by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Senators Bernie Sanders and Tammy Baldwin, joined by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the National United Committee to Protect Pensions and the Pension Rights Center, introduce the Keep Our Pension Promises Act. The act would reverse a provision passed in 2014 that could result in deep pension cuts for millions of retirees and workers in multi-employer pension plans.
“We have got to send a very loud and clear message to the Republican leadership in Congress and the president of the United States. When a promise is made to the working people of this country with respect to their pensions and retiree health benefits, that promise cannot be broken,” Sanders said. “If Congress could bail out Wall Street and foreign banks throughout the world, we certainly can protect the pension benefits of American workers.”
“Pensions are deferred income and retirees are owed these earned benefits. My bill with Senator Sanders ensures that we do right by our people," Kaptur said. "I thank the cosponsors of the Keep Our Pension Promises Act in the House and Senate and I urge the rest of my colleagues to come to the table and support this bill. I will fight every day to defend retirees. No matter where retirees draw their retirement, whether it is a pension, a 401k or Social Security, Americans deserve financial stability and security in their older years."
In December 2014, Congress approved and the president signed a spending bill that included provisions that allow for dramatic cuts to financially troubled multi-employer pensions. Under this provision, the pension benefits of retirees could be cut by 30 percent or more. Before the law was changed, it was illegal for an employer to cut the pension benefits retirees have earned.
The new legislation establishes a legacy fund within the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation to ensure that multi-employer pension plans can continue to provide pension benefits to every eligible American for decades to come. This legislation is paid for by closing two tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
Sanders, Baldwin and Franken announced the legislation at a news conference where they were joined by representatives of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the National United Committee to Protect Pensions and the Pension Rights Center.
“It’s time for Washington to respect the hard work of American workers and make sure that the promises made to them are kept,” Baldwin said. “A secure retirement is a central pillar of economic security for our working class. The Keep Our Pensions Promise Act ends a loophole and tax break for the wealthy so we can protect the retirement security families have worked for, planned for and depend on.”
Reps. Kaptur, Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), John Yarmouth (D-Ky.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) held events in their districts today in support of the plan.
Monday, May 08, 2017
The Teamsters Union opposes the American Health Care Act (AHCA) which was passed by the House of Representatives. The legislation's wholesale changes to the current system leaves working families footing the bill for corporate tax breaks while paving a path to the elimination of even basic health care for the millions of American families that need it the most.
The AHCA attacks working families who receive high-quality health care plans from their employers through a 40 percent excise tax. This "Cadillac Tax" penalizes middle class workers who have fought long and hard for the strong health care plans they receive.
"The American Health Care Act is a flawed piece of legislation that should never be made into law," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "It not only includes this destructive Cadillac Tax that targets working families, but it also allows insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and charge older Americans up to five times higher premiums than younger plan holders.
"Instead of finding new ways to enrich health care providers, Congress should be working to ensure that this country provides affordable health care coverage for every American regardless of their pre-existing conditions. The AHCA will lead to only one result - higher costs for lower quality care for fewer Americans."
The Day of Action will coincide with the reintroduction of the Keep Our Pension Promises Act of 2017. KOPPA would prevent retiree pensions from being cut and would also address underfunding problems in multiemployer pension plans.
More information here.............
Plans to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), for example, could hold the key to getting hundreds of thousands of people back to work in good-paying jobs. With Senate confirmation of Robert Lighthizer as the next U.S. Trade Representative imminent, as well as President Trump’s announcement that he has reached an agreement with Mexican President Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau to begin the process of renegotiation, changes to NAFTA will be coming soon. This is a complicated deal that must be looked at carefully to ensure the right fixes are made.
To that end, “NAFTA 2.0” must address the failures of the current agreement. That means curtailing the dangerous problem of Mexican-domiciled trucks being allowed to cross the U.S. border without concern to whether they are following our laws. Changes must be made that would require foreign-based vehicles and drivers entering this country to meet our highway safety and environmental standards.
But they must not stop there. There is no reason that the federal government shouldn’t be allowed to favor American companies when it purchases goods or services it needs. President Trump recently signed an executive order expanding the reach of the “Buy American” program, and it should be up to elected officials to decide what company is best to handle its needs, not a trade pact.
Multi-national corporations, in turn, shouldn’t be able to usurp U.S. laws they don’t like by appearing before business-friendly tribunals with the power to punish taxpayers with their rulings. This investor state dispute resolution provision became a rallying cry against the now-defeated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for good reason, and there is no reason why NAFTA should contain such language either.
And currency manipulation also remains a problem that needs to be taken on. A new NAFTA must include a chapter with enforceable sanctions against the practice. The pact also needs to protect jobs and the people who do them. That means beefing up worker protections beyond what was even offered as part of the failed TPP. Exploitation cannot be part of any future trade pact.
But the concerns of U.S. workers don’t end with trade. As I mentioned last month, having quality health care is a major concern for the public. And while it previously appeared Congress was done with its efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, it unfortunately now seems it’s back on the table.
Nothing has changed from the Teamsters’ perspective. This is still a bad proposal that instead of fixing and reforming the flaws of ACA falls woefully short of providing good health care options to those in need. Congress also seems intent on keeping the provision that would apply a huge tax on comprehensive, low-deductible health benefits largely provided by union-sponsored plans. The current proposal is unacceptable and should be sent back for further negotiations.
Workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, both in trade agreements and when it comes to having quality medical care. The path to do so is clear for elected officials. It’s time for them to work together to solve these issues.
The terminal’s 60,000 square feet of dock space with 60 dock doors and heated dock provide better coverage for key Ontario markets and strategic southern Ontario support with quicker cycle time, freight movement and management.
The terminal is conveniently located near the two major markets of Kingston and Ottawa, Ontario enabling Holland to more effectively accommodate the demand for Cross-Border service both in Ontario and the entire Holland network.
The Ontario terminal’s location is just five minutes from Hwy. 401 (the main artery between Toronto and Montreal).
“This is just one of the many advantages of shipping to and from Canada with Holland, and another example of the Holland Difference in action,” said Scott Ware, Holland President. “We work hard to understand and meet the needs of our customers who entrust us with their valuable cross-border shipments.”
Higher first quarter Asset-Based revenue associated with healthy shipment growth and improved pricing
First quarter Asset-Light revenue and operating income increased versus the prior year
ArcBestSM reported first quarter 2017 revenue of $651.1 million compared to first quarter 2016 revenue of $621.5 million. The first quarter 2017 GAAP operating loss was $12.3 million compared to an operating loss of $9.3 million last year. The net loss in this year's first quarter was $7.4 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, compared to a first quarter 2016 net loss of $6.1 million, or $0.24 per diluted share.
Excluding certain items in both periods as identified in the attached reconciliation tables, non-GAAP net loss was $5.8 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, in first quarter 2017 compared to a first quarter 2016 net loss of $5.9 million, or $0.23 per diluted share. On a non-GAAP basis, the operating loss was $8.7 million in first quarter 2017 compared to a first quarter 2016 operating loss of $8.4 million. The consolidated non-GAAP operating results comparison was impacted by a $2.0 million increase in the "Other and eliminations" loss driven by previously highlighted investments in technology development toward enhancing the ArcBest customer experience and the ability to offer comprehensive transportation and logistics services across multiple operating segments.
"The first quarter – typically the most challenging of the year – saw revenue growth in both our Asset-Based and Asset-Light businesses but also experienced some changing freight characteristics on the less-than-truckload side and a degree of weaker demand, particularly in the truckload sector," said ArcBest Chairman, President and CEO Judy R. McReynolds. "Our enhanced market approach, in which we now offer most services under the ArcBest brand, became fully operational in the first quarter. We continue to see positive reception from customers about our heightened focus on meeting all of their supply chain needs. Customers also recognize the value we bring to their own businesses with our ability to manage even the most complex logistics challenges."
Full report here............
"Our Regional carriers' first quarter 2017 results were generally in line with a year ago, including an increase in year-over-year tonnage per day," said James Welch, chief executive officer at YRC Worldwide. "YRC Freight's results in the first quarter were unfavorably impacted by a year-over-year decrease in revenue per hundredweight, excluding fuel surcharge, that more than offset increases in tonnage per day and weight per shipment. We expect the improvement in year-over-year tonnage per day to help us execute our strategy of pricing for profitability and moving shipments through YRC Freight, Holland, Reddaway and New Penn's networks that have favorable freight characteristics. We believe the pricing environment remains stable in the less-than-truckload sector. Our goal in 2017 is to exceed our 2016 Adjusted EBITDA results while meeting our customers' needs," stated Welch.
"We continuously evaluate opportunities to drive improvements in operational efficiencies and financial results, including tightly managing our cost structure. During the first quarter we implemented a plan to reduce costs and de-layer our management and other non-union workforce. Headcount reduction is the most significant source of savings while other changes included increasing collaboration across our companies and reducing the utilization of external professional services," concluded Welch.
Full report here..................
The job cuts were accompanied by other cost savings in the company’s dealings with “external professionals,” such as consultants, and from increased collaboration among its four companies that combined duplicate departments.
YRC Worldwide owns YRC Freight, a national less-than-truckload carrier, and three regional trucking companies, New Penn, Holland and Reddaway.
CEO James Welch said that although the four businesses were collaborating more, there are no plans to merge them. He also said the job cuts were part of a normal review of operations.
Welch called the quarterly results “somewhat disappointing,” but he said the company’s “fundamentals” were improving and that better results lie ahead.
“We feel good about the rest of the year,” he said during a conference call with analysts.
Costs will be about $25 million lower because of the changes, including job cuts that triggered some severance costs. Welch said $16 million of the cost savings will come at YRC Freight and $9 million at the regional carriers.
YRC Worldwide said it lost $25.3 million, or 78 cents a share, during January, February and March. A year earlier, it had lost $12 million, or 37 cents a share.
Its freight operations lost $3 million in the quarter after posting a $13.4 million profit a year earlier. Interest expenses increased the recent loss and turned the operating profit from a year ago into a net loss.
Revenues in the first quarter were $1.17 billion, up from $1.12 billion a year ago. YRC said its profits fell in part because it collected less revenue for each 100 pounds of freight it hauled. Winter weather also had an impact.
The company has renegotiated price contracts with a number of customers and expects that to help improve financial results in the remainder of the year.
Monday, April 24, 2017
John McKown has been working in the trucking industry for more than 20 years – 12 of them as a Teamster at UPS Freight in Pennsylvania. But his greatest achievement on the road happened when he was selected to join the American Trucking Associations’ “America’s Road Team” program.
“I can’t put in to words how great it felt to be chosen to be part of this elite road team,” said McKown, who is a safety trainer at UPS Freight and a member of Local 776 in Harrisburg, Pa.
It wasn’t his first attempt at joining the two-year program, which was established in 1986 to help educate the public about the trucking industry. Last time McKown went through the rigorous application process and was among 32 finalists, but he was not selected for the program.
McKown explained that the process begins with being nominated by a supervisor. Drivers then have to submit application materials showing an accident-free safety record and strong community involvement.
“I have been heavily involved in the community through UPS Freight, working with the Salvation Army, the Red Cross – and on my own time I umpire Little League and volunteer at a nursing home. And I also help at the local VFW,” McKown said.
The second time around, McKown knew the process and his hard work paid off. He was selected for the 2015-2016 program along with 19 other drivers from various companies.
“There was such a strong feeling of pride, a feeling that I was following in my dad’s footsteps,” he said, referring to his father who is a 35-year retired Teamster. As a captain on the ATA Road Team, McKown takes part in community outreach at public events to raise awareness about trucking in America and conduct safety demonstrations for high school students.
“The ‘Share the Road’ program we do is so gratifying because you can see how you are really teaching these young kids about driving safely,” McKown said.
He recently went to a high school with the Road Team to teach students about blind spots on trucks. “We bring a truck to the school and park a car in the blind spot. When you get these kids up in the cab of the truck and they don’t see the car, you can see their eyes get big and you know you’re getting to them,” he added.
Even before being selected for the Road Team, McKown had experience teaching younger generations about trucks and road safety. He volunteers as a guest speaker in several high school drivers’ education classes. He is also participating in events at community colleges and other venues to promote careers in truck driving to students.
“The trucking industry is imperative to our economy – without trucks America doesn’t work, everything stops. That’s why I am so honored and humbled to be a captain on the ATA Road Team,” he said.
Monday, April 17, 2017
International Brotherhood of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced the appointment of the following union officers to regional coordinators for the National Freight Division:
Lendon Grisham, President of Teamsters Local 480 in Nashville, Tenn., has been appointed the Southern Region Freight Coordinator for the IBT Freight Division.
John Murphy, Business Agent of Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, Mass., has been appointed as the Eastern Region Freight Coordinator for the IBT Freight Division.
Bob Paffenroth, Business Agent of Teamsters Local No. 63 in Rialto, Calif., has been re-appointed as the Western Region Freight Coordinator for the IBT Freight Division.
They will work under the leadership of Teamsters National Freight Division Director Ernie Soehl. Soehl was appointed by Hoffa to division director on Feb. 10.
“Brothers Grisham, Murphy and Paffenroth bring decades of experience in this critical sector of our union to their new positions as regional freight coordinators,” Hoffa said. “They, along with our National Freight Division Director Ernie Soehl, will help guide our union through the ever-changing landscape of this core industry.”
A Central Region Freight Coordinator for the IBT Freight Division will be appointed in the near future.
Charlton Paul has been driving with UPS Freight for 21 years. During that time, he’s maintained an accident-free driving record and has received accolades from the company for his safe driving. Earlier this year, the industry took notice of Paul’s clean record and professional driving skills, too.
“I was very excited when they told me that I was selected,” said Paul, who has joined the American Trucking Associations’ (ATA) “America’s Road Team” program for 2017-2018 to help educate the public about the trucking industry. Paul is a trustee on the Teamsters Local 707 Executive Board in Hempstead, N.Y. and has been a shop steward for the past eight years.
The program started in 1986, selecting captains from a pool of applicants who must demonstrate their strong safety records and social skills to represent the industry in public forums.
“I was told not to be disappointed if I didn’t make it the first time after going through the application process, so I was prepared for a letdown. It was an honor, one of my proudest moments, when I learned that I was selected to be part of the team,” Paul said.
Paul was a finalist out of a group of 33 drivers from various companies. The group ultimately selected for the ATA program includes 20 drivers.
As part of the America’s Road Team, captains participate in safety demonstrations at schools and civic functions around the country. They also provide ride-alongs for lawmakers and reporters to give the public a better understanding of the trucking industry.
“The first event I did was at Mount Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia where we talked to kids who are about to get their driving permits about how to share the road with trucks and other vehicles. We’re teaching kids about blind spots, not following too close, the dangers of distracted driving and texting. It’s a really good educational tool,” Paul said.
He credits his background as a Teamster and his years as a UPS safety trainer for the skills that got him into the program.
“Being on America’s Road Team and being a Teamster, we have the same goals. We all want to get home safe to our families. As an active Teamster, I have a sense of responsibility and leadership when it comes to showcasing the industry. I’m setting an example, introducing the trucking career to young kids, and putting a positive light on what Teamsters do in the industry,” he said.
“We are honored that one of our brothers is representing our local in this industry,” said Kevin McCaffrey, President of Local 707. “Charlton is an exemplary member and leader in our union and we congratulate him on this great achievement.”
The drivers--America’s Road Team Captains--gave a personal tour to President Trump as he took a seat inside the cab of a truck in front of the White House. The rig included a trailer with TMAF promotional imaging.
Later, a round table of trucking company leaders introduced themselves and their companies one-by-one to the president. President Trump stressed the importance of American companies and his pledge to repair the nation's infrastructure problems.
Trucking company executives explained that trucking is the backbone of the nation’s economy, employing one in 16 people in the United States. “Driving a truck is the top job in 29 states,” Spear said. “Trucking moves 70% of the nation’s freight and 56% of GDP. To grow our economy, we need to take care of the people that move America forward.”
ATA Chairman Kevin Burch, president of Jet Express Inc, said: “The 7.3 million people who work in the trucking industry--of which 3.5 million are professional truck drivers--have a common thread to be safe and dependable and that requires a healthy professional behind the wheel. One thing for certain the professional men and women drivers in America are proud of hauling America’s freight. We are here to tell you Mr President, that the trucking industry will support you as you work towards solving America’s health care challenges. In addition, we look forward to working with you on improving our workplace, which is our highways.”
America’s Road Team Captain Don Logan, a professional truck driver with FedEx Freight, from Eskridge KS, said: “Truck drivers are in all 50 states--every single day. As a driver, we feel the weight of the numerous regulations placed on us, as well as our companies, and those that we serve. We proudly stand with you in your effort to improve the current healthcare law making it easier for us to make a living and serve America.”
Burch and Logan were joined by a number of trucking executives: Jim Burg, president and CEO, James Burg Trucking Co, Warren MI; David Congdon, CEO, Old Dominion Freight Line, Thomasville NC; Mike Ducker, president and CEO, FedEx Freight, Memphis TN; Eric Fuller, CEO, US Xpress Inc, Chattanooga TN; Neal Kedzie, president, Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, Madison WI; Rich McArdle, president, UPS Freight, Richmond VA; Dennis Nash, CEO, Kenan Advantage Group, North Canton OH; Tonn Ostergard, president and CEO, Crete Carrier Corp, Lincoln NE; and John Smith, chairman, CRST International Inc, Cedar Rapids IA.
In addition, ATA’s image truck--Interstate One--joined a trailer provided by Jet Express featuring Trucking Moves America Forward imaging, hauled by ATA’s Share the Road Truck. These trucks are being driven and escorted by 12 professional drivers with a combined 319 years of driving experience and 29.4 million accident-free miles: Steve Fields, Independence MO (YRC Freight); Ralph Garcia, Albuquerque NM (ABF Freight System); David Green, Hot Springs AR (Werner Enterprises); Rhonda Hartman, Des Moines IA (Old Dominion Freight Line); John Lex, Monroe GA (Walmart Transportation); David Livingston, Springfield GA (TCW Inc); Don Logan, Eskridge KS (FedEx Freight); Charlton Paul Jr, Chester NY (UPS Freight); Russell Simpson, South Vienna OH (Holland Inc); Todd Stine, Altoona PA (Carbon Express); Barney Earl Taylor, Orlando FL (Penske); and Derrick Whittle, Fieldale VA (Cargo Transporters Inc).
Service centers in Nebraska, California, Texas and Arkansas awarded
ArcBest is pleased to announce that four of its ABF Freight service centers have earned the President's Quality Award for their achievements in 2016: Grand Island, Nebraska; Long Beach, California; Waco, Texas; and Little Rock, Arkansas.
The prestigious award recognizes service centers that have exemplified the Quality Process for the previous year. Each facility receives a President's Quality Award trophy and earns a spot on a wall of honor at the General Office in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
"The hard work and dedication of the employees at Grand Island, Waco, Long Beach and Little Rock have resulted in profitable growth, safe freight handling and ultimately improvements in customer satisfaction and loyalty," said ABF Freight President Tim Thorne. "Their teamwork and collaboration to meet our customers' needs has fueled their success."
The Quality Process involves a variety of tools, including a five-step problem elimination process: 1) define the problem; 2) fix the problem; 3) identify the root cause; 4) take corrective action; 5) evaluate and follow up. Education through quality seminars, job-skills training, focus groups and designated quality teams have ensured that quality throughout the ArcBest organization is a process, not merely a program.
Each year, all ABF Freight service centers undergo extensive evaluations that include a nomination process, a quality awareness survey and an on-site validation audit by the Quality Implementation Committee. The evaluations gauge customer satisfaction, resource management, damage/loss prevention and other performance indicators.
The President's Quality Awards were established in 1993; four ABF Freight service centers have been recognized annually since 1999.
"There is nothing we take greater pride in than providing our customers with first-class service. It's great to receive this vote of confidence from NASSTRAC shippers as this reinforces our ongoing investments in the customer experience. To be honored with this award means a lot to our 20,000+ hard working YRC Freight employees; we couldn't be more proud of this recognition by the members of NASSTRAC," said Darren Hawkins, YRC Freight President.
The annual NASSTRAC awards program recognizes carriers that have demonstrated excellence and also helps shippers identify the "best of the best" in carrier performance and value.
Through an online survey, NASSTRAC members ranked carriers on a four-point scale in the following five key areas: (1) customer service; (2) operational excellence; (3) delivery flexibility, billing accuracy and claims resolution; (4) business relationship effectiveness; and (5) leadership in technology.
NASSTRAC has been providing education and advocacy for shippers and carriers since 1952.
Drivers and warehouse workers at Clock Freight in South San Francisco overwhelmingly voted on Thursday, April 13 to join Teamsters Local 2785. The vote was 32 to 3.
The workers are fighting for better wages with overtime pay, affordable health care and respect on the job. They are currently forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day with no overtime pay. They have to pay an average of $1,000 a month for a sub-standard health care plan. Most have not seen a raise in almost five years and recently 10 workers were terminated for no apparent reason. They have no retirement plan and are fighting for the opportunity to negotiate their terms and conditions of employment.
"It's a great day and I can't wait to negotiate a contract that I can be proud of that protects me and my family's future," said Sam Veimau, a Clock driver for seven years.
"It's about time this company takes these workers seriously," said Joe Cilia, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 2785. "As Teamsters, they will have a strong voice to fight for fair treatment."
"I was promised a raise three years ago and haven't seen it yet. I make $16 an hour and have to work two jobs to provide for my family. The Bay Area isn't cheap," said Jose Sol, a seven-year warehouse worker.
"We welcome the Clock Freight employees and we will assist Local 2785 in negotiating a contract that addresses the workers' needs," said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. "These workers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity for the job they do every day."
The Teamsters’ pensions are threatened with steep cuts because their fund has been determined to be insolvent, so on Sunday they used the movie to make a point as they demonstrated outside a theater near North 72nd Street and Crown Point Avenue.
About a dozen demonstrators, mostly retirees, lined Crown Point Avenue from about 5 to 6 p.m. holding signs protesting possible pension cuts and linking their cause to the movie.
A series of two signs read “GOING IN STYLE” and “IS NOT FICTION,” with the word “NOT” underlined.
“This isn’t fiction for people,” said Mary Packett, director of Protect Our Pensions of Iowa and Nebraska, a nonprofit group organized to help about 175 area Teamsters. “This isn’t funny to these guys because it’s their reality.”
Packett and her father, Freddie Lowry, 77, demonstrated Sunday. He is a retired Teamster who drove semitrailer trucks for 29 years and paid into his pension. He took occasional rest breaks Sunday during the demonstration, while others continued to stand along the street with their signs.
Last year hundreds of thousands of retirees with the pension fund faced benefit cuts — some by 50 percent or more. The proposal by the Teamsters’ Central States Pension Fund was intended to put the struggling fund back on a path to solvency. The plan was rejected by the U.S. Treasury Department, and retirees have been spared — for now.
The government’s rejection of the plan was only a temporary move, however, and the long-term future of the Teamsters’ benefits remains in doubt.
“This is about as unfair as you get,” said demonstrator Bob Bossung, “taking money away from retired old people” who budgeted based on pensions they thought they would receive throughout retirement. Bossung said he retired almost two years ago after driving trucks for 36 years, 22 of those for Roberts Dairy.
Teamsters “have stepped up and fought and won” in the past, Packett said, and they will continue to fight. About 20 members of the local Protect Our Pensions group will travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby lawmakers in June and push for an investigation and possibly an audit of the fund, she said.
“They’re good people,” Packett said of the Teamsters demonstrating Sunday, “and they deserve more than this.”
Thousands of upstate retired Teamsters have dodged a potential pension cut, at least for now, thanks to a recent decision by the federal government.
And the retirees may face smaller cuts than the original plan called for as reductions could have been up to 31 percent.
Still, the respite could be short-lived as the timetable for possible cuts has been pushed forward from July 1 to Oct 1.
"We need to file another application to the Treasury Department," said Tom Baum, volunteer retiree representative for the Teamsters' Local 294.
Also known as the Upstate Teamsters, Local 294 represents about 16,500 retirees and another 18,500 who are currently employed.
Many are or were truck drivers or other employees of the UPS parcel delivery service, as well as drivers who worked for car haulers, who transported new vehicles from train depots to auto dealerships across the region. Most are in upstate New York with a few in New Jersey.
Like a number of private sector unions, the Teamsters over the years have seen their membership dwindle due in part to federal deregulation of the trucking industry.
With fewer members to support retirees and following the 2008 crash, the pension fund has hit rocky financial waters. Fund administrators say if cuts aren't made they could become insolvent by 2025.
Any cuts, though, must be approved by the federal Treasury Department.
Earlier in April, the Treasury Department sent back the Upstate Teamster's application to make cuts.
They offered several suggestions including an updating of the fund's actuarial mortality tables. They also wanted the fund operators to make a more optimistic assumption about their rate of return, which was pegged at 6.75 percent for the next decade.
"The Fund's investment earnings during the last few months have been better than expected, which could help make deeper cuts unnecessary. It's still possible, however, that the new proposed cuts will be deeper than 31%,'' according to a web page that has been set up http://nysteamstersfundretireerep.com.
"The 6.75 percent (projection) is too conservative,'' Baum said of what federal regulators told union officials.
In the meantime, UPS has offered a plan of its own which would enact across-the-board cuts of 20 percent rather than the cuts of up to 31 percent contemplated in the current proposal.
Under the current plan, cuts would vary based on length of service and age, as well as disabilities.
The UPS plan, though, would give no preference to disabled retirees.
It would also enact a $10 monthly employee fee. They would also seek low interest loans from the government in order to shore up pension fund finances.
UPS spokesman Steve Gaut in a written statement said that was just one of several options the company was exploring in efforts to help deal with the problem.
''The company is working with stakeholders to explore legislative solutions which could help minimize the impact of required restructuring of multi-employer plans facing critical funding problems,'' he said. "However, there is no single proposal or agreed solution to comment on at this time."
A number of pension plans from various unions including Teamsters have run into financial problems in recent years. They can seek to lower payouts, but if the Treasury Department says no, then the plans can be at risk of folding.
That means that many of the most endangered plans need to eventually devise a proposal for benefit cuts that the Treasury Department agrees with.
At least one Teamsters fund has already become insolvent: the New York City based Teamsters Local 707 fund.
The federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. a federal agency, stepped in but they are only paying $570 per month, which was less than half of most pensions.
The cuts were enabled by Congress in 2014 as part of that year's ongoing budget resolution to fund the federal government.
The pensions in question are "multi-employer" plans which cover employees like union truck drivers who may have worked for a variety of employers such as delivery or trucking companies over the years.
"A lot of retirees are very nervous about this," said Joellen Leavelle, Communications and Outreach Director at the Pension Rights Center, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that advocates for pensioners.
Leavelle said Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed cutting tax loopholes to help shore up pension funds. She said that proposal is expected to come again in May.
Also voting on Friday, April 14, drivers in Elgin, Illinois and dockworkers in Aurora, Illinois were not successful at this time seeking Teamster representation. The actions of XPO and its high-priced union busters has been egregious and suspect throughout the company's campaigns and will be challenged through the National Labor Relations Board.
The 34 drivers in Trenton join the hundreds of workers nationwide who have already formed their union as Teamsters. The earlier victories were in Aurora (drivers); Miami; Laredo, Texas; Vernon, Calif.; North Haven, Conn.; and King of Prussia, Pa.
"The victory in Trenton and the company's desperate actions in Illinois show that the XPO workers' campaign is getting stronger and stronger, as freight, warehouse and port drivers fight for a more secure future," said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division, who is also President of Local 701 in North Brunswick, New Jersey. "The workers help make XPO very successful and they deserve to be rewarded for their hard work."
The drivers are seeking decent and affordable health insurance, a secure retirement, job security and a voice on the job. Port, freight and warehouse workers at XPO are coming together across the country in their fight for a more secure future.