Sunday, March 11, 2018

Top ABF Freight Drivers Earn Recognition on Road Team

ArcBest is pleased to announce that its less-than-truckload carrier ABF Freight has chosen 12 professional drivers for the 2018-2019 ABF Freight Road Team.

Members of the 2018-2019 ABF Freight Road Team and their service centers are: Scotty Davis, Kansas City, Missouri; Scott Scheuffele, Ontario, Oregon; Brian Petrovcic, North Lima, Ohio; Todd Wilemon, Tupelo, Mississippi; Matt Meadows, Charleston, West Virginia; Allen McNeely, Charlotte, North Carolina; Jimmy Smith, Roanoke, Virginia; Sammy Brewster, Atlanta, Georgia; Eric Patterson, Phoenix, Arizona; Don Wood, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Jon Herman, Kansas City, Missouri; and Russ Lauver, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

“We are proud to have these exceptional representatives among the ranks of ABF Freight’s professional drivers,” said Mark McMinn, ABF Freight senior vice president of Operations and Safety. “Each Road Team member has superb driving skills and an outstanding safety record. Their commitment to our customers’ goods, as well as their commitment to the safety of the driving public, makes them excellent ambassadors to represent ABF Freight and the trucking industry.”

To be eligible for the ABF Freight Road Team, candidates must have at least 10 years of driving experience and an exemplary driving record. Road Team membership is one of the highest honors an ABF Freight driver can achieve.

“With drivers like these, it’s no wonder why ABF Freight has been a trusted partner our customers have depended on for over 95 years,” McMinn said.

During two-year terms, ABF Freight Road Team members serve as ambassadors for ABF Freight as well as the trucking industry at large. They are available for speaking engagements at civic and fraternal organizations, school events, career days and other events around the country. When called upon, Road Team members speak about driving safety, the image of the truck driver, sharing the road with trucks, or other subjects of community or industry interest.

YRC Freight Driver Bobby Elrod Reaches Safety Achievement of 5-Million Accident-Free Miles

In his 45-year career with YRC Freight, Bobby Elrod has reached the elite safety milestone of driving five-million consecutive miles without a single accident. The company will recognize his safety record with an event at 10 a.m., on March 6, at its Chattanooga terminal.

In honor of Elrod's achievement, he will be welcomed into the company's five-million miler Driver Hall of Fame. YRC Freight will also donate 50 children's car seats to the Tennessee Highway Patrol--one for every 100,000 miles he has driven without a single accident.

"Bobby is a true professional with a genuine dedication to the safety of the motoring public. Each day he demonstrates self-discipline, constant focus and commitment," says T.J. O'Connor, YRC Freight president. "We are introducing a new trailer wrapped in his honor to showcase his great safety accomplishment. Here at YRC Freight, we couldn't be prouder of his five-million miles driven over four and a half decades without a single accident."

Elrod observed, "I've driven out of Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga at different times for the company. I was proud to be the first Smith System instructor in Nashville and train our drivers. I always put safety first. I came from a family of truck drivers--my dad, two uncles, a brother, and a brother-in-law--they were all truck drivers. It's in my blood. I was only nine or ten when my dad passed away. Not that long ago, I went out to the cemetery. I told my dad, ‘I've reached five million miles without an accident, Dad. Can you imagine?' It was a good moment. I've been blessed. I was able to put both my boys through college, and see them graduate without owing a penny. The company has been really good to me and my family."

"To put those miles in perspective, five million miles is like driving to the moon and back over ten times or driving around the equator 200 times--all without a single accident. I tip my safety hat to him, and I send my heartfelt thanks to his family for sharing Bobby with us," says Terry Budimlija, YRC Freight Safety Director.

A resident of Chickamauga, Ga., Elrod averages over 2,000 miles a week. He will be presented with a celebratory watch, die cast YRC Freight truck, plaque and a five-million miles accident-free commemorative jacket at the celebration.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Brown Briefs Teamsters, Union Members On Effort To Save Their Pensions

More than 100 Teamsters and other union retirees and active members crowded into a union hall in Canton Sunday morning to get an update from Sen. Sherrod Brown on what it may take to save their pensions. The crisis that could affect 60,000 Ohioans and a million-and-a-half workers and retirees.

Brown was appointed last week to co-chair an unusual joint committee of the House and Senate. By the end of the year, it’s charged with coming up with a way to restore the precarious finances of what are called multi-employer pensions for groups like the Teamsters, mineworkers and carpenters.

Brown has been pushing a fix called the Butch Lewis Act, which would provide a low-interest, 30-year loan to the pensions. Though the union hall was filled with Butch Lewis signs and shirts, Brown acknowledged uncertainty.

“I don’t have preconceived notions on what we end up with," Brown said. "I’d love to end up with Butch Lewis, I think that’s the best idea. But I also understand we’ve got to get five Republican and five Democratic votes.”

The 16-member committee is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. If it gets the bipartisan deal from at least 10 of them, the measure will go to the full House and Senate for a straight up-or-down vote.

Teamsters Call on Joint Select Committee to Move Quickly to Solve Pension Crisis

Millions of Active and Retired Workers Face Uncertain Future Without Legislative Fix

Following the announcement of the final members of Congress that will serve on the bipartisan, House-Senate Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans tasked with finding a solution to the nation’s looming pension crisis, the Teamsters Union called for a commitment by the legislators to report a bill as soon as possible, and not wait until the November deadline.

The retirement security of as many as 1.5 million active and retired workers could be at risk if pension legislation is not passed soon. The committee, which is comprised of eight senators and eight members of the House evenly divided by party, will work toward reporting a bill to solve the pension crisis. The Teamsters Union supports the passage of the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (H.R.4444/S.2147) which was introduced in Congress last November by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and has received bipartisan support.

“Now that party leadership has appointed the members of Congress who will serve on the committee it is time to get to work,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Millions of active and retired workers can’t wait until November for this committee to act. We already have a strong piece of legislation already in Congress in the Butch Lewis Act and the Teamsters Union believes it offers the best solution to the pension crisis.”

Teamsters Continue Push for Improvements in Fourth Round of UPS and UPS Freight Negotiations

The Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee pushed for improvements on a variety of issues as the fourth round of contract negotiations with UPS and UPS Freight wrapped up today.

“We still believe it is early in the negotiations process and things are progressing. We are maintaining our stance on issues that members have indicated are the most important,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee.

The following issues were on the table this week:

Article 6   – Technology and Discipline;

Article 14 – Temporary Alternate Work;

Article 15 – Military Leave – spousal transfers;

Article 16 – Maternity Leave;

Article 17 – Paid For Time; dealing with members’ ability to review hours and rates of pay as well as confirmation and identification of grievance payments;

Article 18 – Building Heat and Distracted Drivers;

Article 29 – Funeral Leave;

Article 35 – Drug and Alcohol Testing;

Article 37 – Overtime; and,

Article 43 – Delay Time and Extensions and Diversions of Runs

“During UPS Freight national negotiations this week, we continued to make gains,” said Kris Taylor, Co-Chair of the Teamsters National UPS Freight Negotiating Committee. “In particular, Article 4: Stewards; Article 5: Seniority; Article 6: Discipline; Article 14: Military Clause; and, Article 37: Suspension or Revocation of License and Employee’s Bail.”

The next round of negotiations will take place March 19-22.

Teamsters Make Continued Progress at ABF Negotiations

This past week the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) and ABF Freight resumed bargaining for a new national collective bargaining agreement, and the parties continued to make progress on issues important to members.

Representatives from the union and the company discussed the status and role of ABF within the ArcBest corporate family and had a positive dialogue concerning the future of ABF in the evolving transportation marketplace. The two sides also discussed various methods for growing work at ABF Freight and preserving Teamster jobs, and both sides also discussed equipment improvements.

Only a few issues remain unresolved in terms of the National ABF National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) language articles. Both sides also had discussions on some supplemental agreements.   

Negotiations resume in Kansas City on March 12 where economics will likely be on the table as well as language in supplemental agreements. Prior to the next round of negotiations, the company will be sharing additional economic and business data with TNFINC’s economists.

“This week’s session was positive and productive,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC.  However, Soehl cautioned that “the upcoming economic discussions, including pension and health and welfare are likely going to be very difficult.”

Soehl reaffirmed that “TNFINC is 100 percent committed to getting the best possible contract” and that the union committee remains united and focused on addressing the membership’s objectives.

Monday, February 26, 2018

US public employees mobilize as Supreme Court weighs union rights

An impending US Supreme Court decision threatens the right of public employees to union representation and collective bargaining, and it is a decision that will “hit every public-sector worker across this country,” says Corey Upchurch, a school bus driver for special needs children in Washington DC.

“Just imagine if money is taken off your table, or you’re not able to send your child to college or you not able to retire because you don’t have a pension,” says Upchurch, a father of three children, ages 16, seven and five. “That’s what this case is trying to do.”

Upchurch was amongst thousands of US public employees and their allies who rallied in the US capital this past weekend to demand the High Court respect fundamental worker rights. The Court’s decision will directly affect nearly 18 million public sector workers, disproportionately impacting African-American women – who make up 17.7 percent of public employees. African-American women are paid only 65 cents of the dollar that their white male counterparts are paid – and unions help reduce this pay gap.

The issue involves “agency fees,” which are deducted from paychecks to cover the costs of union representation. The case was brought by an Illinois public worker, Mark Janus, against his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and is part of a larger corporate attack on freedom of association in the United States and, more broadly, around the world.

“The loss of agency fees threatens to trigger an insidious free rider dynamic in which some workers avoid paying for the union’s representation thus weakening the union’s ability to defend the workers it represents, which in turn will discourage others from paying, perpetuating a destructive cycle that quickly undermines union strength,” says Joseph McCartin, executive director of the Kalmanowitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University.

Full story here..............

Teamsters Make Further Progress During Third Round of UPS Contract Negotiations

The Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee continued to make progress on a variety of issues as the third round of contract negotiations with UPS and UPS Freight wrapped up today.

“We made further progress on a number of non-economic issues,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee. “We look forward to more progress when we resume negotiations next week.”

Among other issues, the following were on the table this week:

  • Article 12, Polygraph/Timeclocks; dealing with members’ rights to receive copies of ODS messages;
  • Article 17, Paid For Time; dealing with members’ ability to review hours and rates of pay as well as confirmation and identification of grievance payments;
  • The Committee introduced a proposal dealing with Hours of Service for Package Drivers;
  • The Committee made further progress on Article 37, Section 1A, Harassment;
  • The Committee continued its discussion on the work week; a supplemental issue that the National Committee is coordinating.

In addition, subcommittees continued to meet in conjunction with the National Committee dealing with topics such as Leave of Absence, Temporary Alternate Work, and the Hazardous Materials Handling Program

“At UPS Freight negotiations, the union committee continued to make progress on several issues, including CDL training and grievance procedures,” said Kris Taylor, Co-Chair of the Teamsters National UPS Freight Negotiating Committee.

The next round of negotiations will take place Feb. 26-March 1.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

With only a few logs rolled, ABF, Teamsters already at loggerheads

Company warns of pension crisis that will require action; union wants to cap intermodal, purchased transportation expense, restore lost ground from 2013.

It's still early, but talks to hammer out a collective-bargaining agreement between ABF Freight, the less-than-truckload unit of ArcBest Corp., and the 8,200 full-time Teamsters union members who work for the unit is shaping up to be just as difficult as the last go-round five years ago.

Negotiations resumed on Monday in Kansas City after two rounds of talks that moved the needle a bit, but not by much. ABF said in a memo last Friday that progress had been made on unidentified "mutually agreeable" language, but that "significant issues" remain to be discussed. The memo did not mention the core issues still on the table, but they no doubt mean employee wages, and perhaps more important, the cost of the company's pension plan, which is significantly higher than that of YRC Worldwide Inc., ABF's only unionized rival. The five-year ABF-Teamster contract expires March 31.

The two sides first exchanged proposals on Dec. 18, with the Teamsters' freight division seeking cost-of-living adjustments for each year of the contract and ABF calling for an across-the-board wage freeze effective July 1, 2018. The company has agreed to restore one week's vacation for union members that was eliminated in the 2013 contract, with the condition that the two sides identify cost savings to offset the increased expense associated with adding back the vacation week.

Full Story Here..................

UPS and UPS Freight Teamsters Taking Active Role As Negotiations Set To Resume February 19

UPS Contract Update for February 8
As the Teamsters National UPS and UPS Freight Negotiating Committees prepare to resume contract negotiations on February 19, members are continuing to take an active role and asking questions.
More than 20,000 Teamsters joined the UPS and UPS Freight contract negotiations update call on January 28, and scores of members left questions after the call.
Many of the questions addressed health, welfare and pension benefits, part-time pay, full-time jobs, harassment, excessive overtime, managers taking bargaining unit work and other important topics. Members were able to ask questions and then leave a message with a question after the call for the Division to review. Below are the most frequently asked questions.
Q: Will we address health and welfare and pension benefits?
A: Our negotiating committee sees this as a top priority for our members. Our surveys and feedback from members back this up. The IBT will continue to fight for the best benefits possible. We have received many proposals from the membership on these issues. Economic issues such as health and welfare and pension contributions, wage increases and wage progressions are discussed after many of the language proposals dealing with conditions are addressed. It is difficult to tell exactly when that will occur but we will let the membership know when that time comes.
Q: What is the IBT doing about the fact that there are not enough people filling part-time jobs?
A: Addressing understaffing in all classifications is a top priority. We will attempt to address this by bringing the part-time wage scale up. This will help with retention of part timers already working and allow UPS to hire a sufficient number of employees to staff its operations. We consider the current wage scale to be outdated, and UPS will have a hard time saying otherwise.
Q: Will more part-time jobs be converted to full-time in this contract?
A: We are proposing 10,000 additional full-time jobs over the term of the new contract. This is another way to address the chronic understaffing.
Q: How are we addressing harassment on the job?
A: We have a strong proposal under Article 37 Section 1 that addresses this ongoing problem. Currently, the union and the company have proposals that are far apart on this issue. However, this is a serious concern for many of our members and we will continue to fight for strong language.
Q: When will the IBT address the 70 hour/8 day work week and excessive forced overtime?
A: We have a proposal under Article 37 Section 1 (c) that essentially revamps the “9.5” process. As the negotiations proceed, the hours of service issue will be dealt with as part of an overall discussion on overtime. The committee’s position is very clear: the 70 hour/8 day work week does not work for Package Drivers.
Q:  Are you going to push for one-line seniority at UPS Freight?
A: The Union has proposed “work rules” to either be negotiated on a local or regional basis and this is where that particular issue would be addressed. According to input from the negotiating committee, not all locations want a single/one-line seniority board.
Q: We continue to see road runs being moved by subcontractors at UPS Freight. Are we going to address that?
A: Yes. This has been an ongoing problem at UPS Freight. We have specific proposals to deal with subcontracting - It is the number one issue at UPS Freight.
While the committee cannot answer every question, a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section has been added to the UPSrising app under the UPS Rising news category (see information on how to download the app below.) As negotiations continue, the FAQ will be expanded to include more questions and answers.
“We appreciate all the members who left questions for the committees and we will continue to provide answers to these questions as negotiations move forward,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the National UPS Negotiating Committee.
The next round of negotiations will take place Feb. 19-22. 

Teamsters Celebrate & Remember James R. Hoffa

Visionary Labor Leader Born 105 Years Ago

“While working men and women have long known the value of a dollar—it is a lesson well taught to one who labors for a living—it has taken a long, long time to teach employers the value of a human being, and in many cases has not yet been successfully taught. Few give thought to what happens to displaced workers, but they can analyze to the penny what the profits will be.” –James R. Hoffa

Each year in February, Teamsters take a moment to reflect upon and remember a leader who changed the course of history for working men and women in America. James R. Hoffa, born February 14, 1913, served as General President of the Teamsters Union from 1957 to 1971. In that time, he inspired thousands to stand up and let their voices be heard.

His words, spoken more than 50 years ago, resonate just as profoundly today as they did then.

As General President, Hoffa honed his well-earned reputation as a tough and effective bargainer, and gained the respect of labor and business leaders alike across the country. He worked hard to expand the number of working men and women who were protected by union contracts and, under his leadership, the union’s membership rose to include more than 2 million workers.

Hoffa’s crowning achievement was the 1964 National Master Freight Agreement, which united more than 400,000 over-the-road drivers under one contract. This contract, a feat that had been declared virtually impossible by many, lifted more workers out of poverty and into the middle class than any other single event in labor history. Congressman Elmer Holland (D-PA) was quoted as saying, “Jimmy Hoffa has put more bread and butter on the tables for American kids than all his detractors put together.”

“My father’s devotion to the Teamsters and their families was—and remains—legendary. His whole life was dedicated to bettering the lives of America’s working families,” said James P. Hoffa, General President of the Teamsters Union. “I can think of no better way to honor his legacy than to continue fighting on behalf of working people everywhere.”

Teamsters Report Progress At ABF Negotiations

This week the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) and ABF Freight resumed bargaining for a new national collective bargaining agreement and the union reported progress on some of the issues. The current agreement is set to expire on March 31, 2018.

The parties met in Kansas City and made progress in several areas. For example, progress was made on tightening up language to address concerns about the use of purchased transportation and to improve job security. The union committee also stood firm in its opposition to the company’s controversial drug-testing and fitness-for-duty proposals and, after many spirited meetings, the company ultimately withdrew these proposals. As a result, there will be no changes to Article 35.

Other issues were also addressed including improvements to certain equipment and additional disciplinary protections. TNFINC Co-Chairman and Teamsters National Freight Division Director Ernie Soehl said he was encouraged by the progress.

“Addressing the use of purchased transportation and improving job security are two of the main objectives of the bargaining team,” Soehl said. “We made good progress on some important issues, but tough items, including the major economic issues, remain to be tackled.

“Our committee has done an amazing job of showing solidarity, working hard and is 100-percent committed to achieving our goals and representing the interests of the membership,” Soehl said.

Soehl said he greatly appreciates the support that the membership has shown for the committee in recent weeks.

“The committee has received near universal support from the membership, and that is who we are working for,” Soehl said.

Negotiations resume on February 26.

Monday, February 05, 2018

ABF Bargaining Update: Slow Progress

The second weekly round of bargaining with ABF Freight took place this week for a new collective bargaining agreement to succeed the ABF NMFA that is set to expire on March 31.  Unfortunately not a lot of progress was achieved. The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) has made clear that it wants to reach a new agreement but that any agreement will, among other things, need to address: the restoration of the vacation week that was given up last contract; better protections for road drivers from loss of work due to purchased transportation; protection of health and welfare and pension benefits; and reasonable wage increases.

The union committee has sought to resolve language issues to the extent possible before diving into the hard economics. The company, however, has claimed that its labor and operating costs are too high and that it is essentially seeking a cost neutral agreement and undefined “flexibilities.” The full union committee made it clear that it is not interested in concessions and is seeking real improvements.

In terms of language, the company this week proposed some items that seem somewhat off-point. For example, ABF is now proposing to significantly ramp up its drug and alcohol testing regimen by demanding that all employees be subjected to “hair” testing. Drug testing hair samples detects possible drug use (illegal and legal prescription) from weeks and months earlier but does not necessarily test for on-the-job use or impairment. The company also is seeking new “fitness for duty” requirements that would subject employees to discipline. ABF has also rejected the union’s demand to prohibit the use of driverless trucks even though the company states that it has no current plans to purchase driverless trucks. The union, however, has not withdrawn its proposal in this regard.

While some progress was made on language issues and negotiations are still proceeding, according to Ernie Soehl, co-chair of TNFINC, “it seems a bit strange that the company, after claiming over and over that its labor and operating costs are the problem, is spending time insisting on a new broader drug and alcohol policy, when, according to the company’s own records, over the last five years only one person has tested positive for drugs in a post-accident test.” Also, Soehl added that given the tough work environment and the average age of the ABF workforce, imposing vague “fit for duty” requirements seems to be a “recipe for mischief.”

Nevertheless, the union committee remains positive.

“We didn’t make as much progress as we had expected this week, but we did advance the ball a little bit,” Soehl said. “For example, although no agreement was reached on new protections for road drivers from purchased transportation, we did at least have some productive dialogue.”   Also, the parties did reach a tentative agreement on some small improvements to the “change of operations” provisions and equipment requirements.

TNFINC is committed to fighting for members’ issues and believes that the Teamsters will prevail. 

Negotiations are scheduled to resume in Kansas City on February 12.

Teamsters Make Progress During 2nd Week of UPS and UPS Freight Contract Negotiations

UPS Contract Update for February 1

The Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee has made progress on a variety of issues as the second week of contract negotiations with UPS wrapped up today.

“We are still early in the negotiations, but we are pleased to report that we made progress on a number of non-economic issues,” said Denis Taylor, Director of the Teamsters Package Division and Co-Chairman of the National UPS Negotiating Committee. “This week gives us momentum as we prepare for the next round of negotiations later this month.”

Among other issues, the following were on the table this week:

Article 3, Section 7, Supervisors Working;
Article 6, Technological Change;
Article 37, Harassment, 8-Hour Requests and 9.5 language;
Article 26, SurePost.

In the UPS Freight negotiations, National UPS Freight Negotiating Co-Chairman Kris Taylor reported progress as well.

“We addressed Article 7, Grievance Machinery;
Article 15, Equipment and Safety;
Article 20, Cooperation of Employees Fair Days Pay;
Article 31, Lodging;
Article 32, Rain Gear, Glove and Yard Lights,” Taylor said.

The next round of negotiations will take place Feb. 18-22.

YRC Worldwide Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year Results for 2017

Fourth quarter results include Operating Income of $11.3 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $58.5 million

CDA notes maturity extended and outstanding principal reduced

YRC Worldwide Inc. reported consolidated operating revenue for fourth quarter 2017 of $1.209 billion and consolidated operating income of $11.3 million, which included a $3.6 million gain on property disposals. As a comparison, for the fourth quarter 2016, the Company reported consolidated operating revenue of $1.148 billion and consolidated operating income of $14.9 million, which included a $3.4 million gain on property disposals.

Consolidated operating revenue for the year ended December 31, 2017 was $4.891 billion with consolidated operating income of $98.4 million, which included a $0.6 million gain on property disposals. This compares to full-year 2016 consolidated operating revenue of $4.698 billion with consolidated operating income of $124.3 million, which included a $14.6 million gain on property disposals.

In January 2018, the Company extended the maturity of its contribution deferral agreement (CDA) notes from December 2019 to December 2022. As part of the extension, the Company paid $25 million that reduced the outstanding principal of the CDA notes to $75.1 million. Over the past five quarters, outstanding debt at YRC Worldwide has been reduced by $129.3 million.

Financial Highlights

The fourth quarter 2017 net loss was $7.5 million compared to a net loss of $7.5 million in fourth quarter 2016. For full-year 2017, the net loss was $10.8 million compared to net income of $21.5 million in 2016. The fourth quarter and full-year 2017 results were impacted by a $7.6 million non-union pension settlement charge.

On a non-GAAP basis, the Company generated consolidated Adjusted EBITDA of $58.5 million in fourth quarter 2017 compared to $57.7 million in the prior year comparable quarter (as detailed in the reconciliation below). Last twelve month (LTM) consolidated Adjusted EBITDA was $274.2 million compared to $297.5 million in 2016.

The total debt-to-Adjusted EBITDA ratio for fourth quarter 2017 was 3.38 times compared to 3.40 times for fourth quarter 2016.

The fourth quarter 2017 results include increases in short-term rental expense of $4.1 million and local purchased transportation expense of $3.0 million when compared to the fourth quarter 2016. The increases were primarily due to a shortage of revenue equipment and a demand for drivers.

The fourth quarter 2017 results include a non-union pension settlement charge at YRC Freight of $7.6 million. The pension settlement charge was triggered due to the amount of lump sum benefit payments distributed from plan assets in 2017. The lump sum benefit payments reduce pension obligations and are funded from existing pension plan assets and therefore do not impact the Company's cash balance nor liquidity. The non-cash expense is excluded from Adjusted EBITDA, consistent with the Company's term loan agreement.

The fourth quarter 2017 was unfavorably impacted by approximately $4.0 million in legal expenses due to adverse developments at the Regional segment when compared to the fourth quarter 2016.

Reinvestment in the business continued in 2017 with $103.3 million in capital expenditures and new operating leases for revenue equipment with a capital value equivalent of $133.8 million, for a total of $237.0 million. This compares to a total of $253.1 million invested in 2016. The majority of the investment was in tractors, trailers and technology.

Full report here...................

YRC Freight Driver Henry Hartley Achieves 4 Million Consecutive Miles Safety Record

In his over 44-year career with YRC Freight, Henry Hartley has reached the elite safety milestone of driving four million consecutive miles without a single preventable collision.

Hartley was previously inducted into the YRC Freight Driver Hall of Fame in 2015 for attaining over three million consecutive miles without a single preventable collision.

“Our drivers are true professionals, and Henry has a genuine dedication for the safety of the motoring public. He drives safely, day in and day out, year after year, demonstrating self-discipline, constant focus and commitment,” said T.J. O’Connor, YRC Freight president.

Henry Hartley observed, “I never thought I could reach this safety milestone until it came. I have learned to look out for the other guy, and I diligently practice the Smith System. There might have been some luck involved, but I’m truly proud to have reached four million safe consecutive miles. What I enjoyed the most over the past 44-years was being able to meet so many nice people and satisfying our customers.”

“I could not be happier or prouder of Henry Hartley. Achieving four million safe miles is the equivalent of driving to the moon and back eight times–or 160 trips around the equator–without a preventable accident. My safety hat is off to him, and my thanks to his family for sharing him with us,” says Terry Budimlija, YRC Freight Safety Director.

“Henry is the gold standard–he is as good as they come–one of the finest employees I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with in my entire career. He is one of the happiest, most good-natured, hard-working drivers we’ve ever had.” — Greg Drake, Terminal Manager

Stan Hite, YRC Freight Account Executive was pleased to conclude, “Henry is the best driver/salesman I have ever had the privilege of working with in my 32-year career. He works and advocates for YRC Freight, making a personal and professional connection with each of ‘his’ customers. He loves his job and it certainly shows. His work ethic is amazing.”

Born and raised in Summit, South Carolina, Hartley started working for a nearby farmer when he was eleven years old. He enjoyed tractors and hauling and delivered produce in the summer months during his high school years. He fell in love with hauling and tractor trailers on that farm. When asked about retirement, Hartley responded,

“I’m going too strong to retire just yet. I wake up eager to start every day.”

YRC Freight recognized his safety record at a celebratory event with co-workers, family and customers. Among his awards, Hartley was presented with a certificate of commendation for outstanding safety performance, a letter of congratulations from the South Carolina Trucking Association and a commemorative jacket.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Teamsters, ABF To Hold Second Round Of Negotiations

The Teamsters National Freight Industry (TNFINC) will hold a second round of negotiations with ABF starting on Monday, January 29. This first round of negotiations took place from January 8-11.

The initial meetings focused primarily on language issues but ABF raised claims that its employee costs and operating costs are too high. TNFINC, however, made it clear that members were not interested in a concessionary contract.

“Rather than get bogged down right off the bat in what could have easily resulted in a collision, we spent the initial meetings trying to resolve some  of the less controversial issues and made progress in those areas,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC.

The current ABF National Master Freight Agreement runs through March 31, 2018 and covers more than 8,000 members.

A battle to hold on to pensions — and the dreams they carried

They thought they were the lucky ones — truck drivers and warehouse workers who counted themselves among the dwindling number of Americans still guaranteed a private pension.

But that promise of a monthly check, once considered ironclad, is now in doubt for more than a million retirees and older workers nationwide, including tens of thousands in Massachusetts and neighboring states. Their underfunded pension plans are creeping toward insolvency, putting benefits they earned over the course of a career at risk of being cut or even eliminated.

For people like Bob Connors, 64, who spent decades unloading cases of beer at the Anheuser Busch warehouse in Medford, that’s brought uncertainty at a stage of life he had figured would be less stressful.

“I’m trying to be frugal, less travel and eating out, because I don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Connors, a Medford resident and Teamsters union member who retired two years ago. He’s collecting a pension that’s enabled him to delay taking Social Security. “If it gets cut, I might have to go back to work or sell my house.”

Beyond the pensions of local Teamsters, hundreds of other retirement plans offered by large US companies or groups of smaller ones are struggling. Some have frozen contributions for veteran employees and stopped offering the retirement benefit to new hires.

“We’re looking at the death rattle of pensions in the private sector,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, who cowrote a recent report on the decline of a little-known class of benefits called multiemployer pension plans, which have been particularly hard hit. “These plans are going to run out of money. Employers have decided they’re cumbersome, and they don’t want to assume the risk.”

Full Story Here..............

Monday, January 22, 2018

XPOexposed Union Activists and Workers Unite, Discuss Strategies

Union Activists, XPO workers Share Stories and Develop Tactics to eXPOse the Company’s Abuses

On January 11th and 12th 2018, activists and workers from eight different unions across the world, came together in Esher, England where the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) led a series of meetings hosted by the union Unite to address XPO Logistics’ abhorrent treatment of workers.

The room, filled up with port drivers, warehouse workers, freight drivers, last-mile drivers, and many others from unions around the world, including the Teamsters, VNB (Netherlands), FeSMC (Spain), BTB (Belgium), ACV-Transcom (Belgium), as well as Unite and the European Transport Workers’ Federation.  The workers shared their personal experiences about the terrible conditions they endure every day at XPO such as exploitation, exhaustion, and degradation and comparing XPO’s culture cultivated by CEO Bradley Jacobs.

“I’ve learned here that I’m not the only one suffering. We’re here to fight for justice. We need help,” said XPO warehouse worker Lakeisha Nelson from Memphis, Tennessee.

Noel Coard, ITF head of inland transport, said that if ever there was a company with a business model designed around corporate greed and worker exploitation it was XPO, and it was time to expose it.  He added that while the CEO, Bradley Jacobs, has given himself an almost 500 percent pay raise in two years and a $100 million stock option, XPO refuses to pay its workers a basic living wage.

“I’m glad that I’m here, because I have the opportunity to express my discontent with XPO, and connect with people to put pressure on XPO and their customers,” said XPO Port Driver Benjamin Alfaro from San Diego.

“I commend Unite for hosting this event” said Greg Chockley, Teamsters Organizing Department.

The ability to bring XPO workers together, in one place, from around the world to share stories and collaborate is a powerful thing.  Meetings like this are instrumental in eliminating preconceived notions and paramount in uniting the workforces’ efforts in taking on the behemoth XPO which epitomizes corporate greed at every level.  The meetings resulted in a great interaction in moving forward with bringing workers justice."

Teamsters Present Initial UPS and UPS Freight Contract Proposals to Company

The Teamsters National Negotiating Committee presented the union’s initial UPS and UPS Freight contract proposals to the company today, marking the start of negotiations. These are the initial contract proposals and are subject to change during negotiations.

The contract proposals are available on the app.

If you have not downloaded the app, we encourage you to do so to receive the most up-to-date information. Download the app by searching “UPS Rising” in the App Store or Google Play.

Negotiations are scheduled to continue through Thursday of this week, and multiple dates have been scheduled for future negotiations. More information will be released later this week.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

ACTION ALERT: Tell the U.S. Senate to Protect American Workers’ Pensions

It is vital that Congress address the nation’s growing pension funding crisis.

The BCTGM believes that a legislative solution which provides pension plans with the funding necessary for long-term solvency without forcing trustees to reduce participants’ hard-earned pension benefits would be an important first step.

After careful and comprehensive analysis, the BCTGM has determined that the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (S.2147) is the most effective legislative proposal to address the pension crisis.

Click here to email your U.S. Senators urging them to support this important legislation.

The legislation, sponsored by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who is always a champion for workers and retirees, provides an innovative way to strengthen pension plans and avoid retiree benefit reductions. The centerpiece of the legislation is long-term, low-interest loans that would be used to fully pay the benefits of retirees.

Congress must act now to protect against pension benefit cuts! Email your Senators TODAY! 

ABF Freight Announces 2018 Load Team

 ABF Freight has named its 2018 Load Team, an elite group of freight-handling professionals from service centers throughout its North American network.

The 2018 ABF Freight Load Team members and their service centers are: Tony Abitia, Pico Rivera, California; Chester Barr, Atlanta, Georgia; Brock Brogdon, Dallas, Texas; David Brol Juarez, Aurora, Illinois; Mark Buroker, Dayton, Ohio; Eli Carbonell, Miami, Florida; Don Carrick, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Rob Hayes, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Stewart Hennion, Allentown, Pennsylvania; Mike Kennedy, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Steve Labonte, Enfield, Connecticut; Jim Lewis, South Chicago, Illinois; Jon Lucas, Portland, Oregon; Ben Mascaro, Salt Lake City, Utah; Dean McFarland, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Brian Neuner, Louisville, Kentucky; Jason Patti, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Dan Peoples, Kansas City, Missouri; and Kevin Teague, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“Our Load Team members are an excellent representation of what makes us an industry leader in cargo handling,” said Andy Upchurch, ABF Freight vice president – Service Center Operations. “ABF employees, including our Load Team members, are known for providing superior customer service that includes a daily commitment to deliver freight damage-free and on time, along with a great experience for our customers.”

ABF Freight Load Team members are chosen based on their safety records, their involvement in the Quality Process, their personal integrity and their ability to load trailers in an optimal fashion. ABF Freight established its Load Team in 1994 to honor outstanding performance and draw upon dock employees’ expertise regarding dock procedures, training and equipment.

Teamsters, ABF Address Non-Economic Issues As Negotiations Kick-Off

The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee met with ABF this week to start negotiations for a new ABF National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) that would take the place of the current agreement which is set to expire on March 31.

The meetings this week focused primarily on language issues but ABF continues to raise claims that its employee and operating costs are too high. TNFINC however, has made clear that the members are not interested in a concessionary contract.

The parties spent this week trying to resolve some of the less controversial issues.

“Rather than get bogged down right off the bat in what could easily result in a collision, we spent this week trying to resolve some of the less contro- versial issues and made progress in those areas,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC.

The parties have tentatively agreed on a number of national language articles, including with regard to: Scope of the Agreement; Recognition; Union Shop and Checkoff; Stewards; Protection of Rights; Loss or Damage; Bonds and Insurance; Uniforms; Passengers; Military Leave; Pay Period; Other Services; Posting; Union Activities; Owner Operators; Separation of Employment; Inspection

Privileges and Employer and Employee Identification; Emergency Reopening; Sympathetic Action; Jurisdictional Disputes; Garnishments; and Non- Discrimination. Most of these tentatively agreed upon articles simply remain unchanged from the current contract but according to Soehl, it made sense to initially “pick the low hanging fruit” and get non-controversial items out of the way.

“We remain committed to getting the best possible agreement for our members,” Soehl said.

The parties will reconvene on January 29 to resume negotiations.

Teamsters Union Wins $1 Million Settlement on Behalf of Drivers at YRC Freight

Company Exceeded Permissible Amount of Freight That Can Be Diverted

The Teamsters Union has won a $1 million settlement on behalf of YRC Freight’s road drivers.

The collective bargaining agreement with YRC Freight limits the amount of over-the-road freight that can be put on trains or hauled by non-bargaining unit personnel. The Teamsters Union monitors those amounts. After reviewing the situation and convening a meeting of the committee that monitors compliance, it was determined that the company had in fact exceeded the permissible amounts.

“Our YRC members have an agreement that strongly protects bargaining unit work and work opportunities and the company acknowledged that it diverted more freight than what is allowed,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “We will always seek to hold employers accountable by making sure they abide by our contracts and agreements.”

After reviewing the records, it was clear that a substantial amount of the diverted freight—carried mostly on rail—was the direct result of extraordinary service and terminal interruptions resulting from hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The committee determined that under the unique circumstances of the matter the company should not be penalized for these “Acts of God.”   Nevertheless, the committee determined that the company still exceeded the maximum road miles that could be hauled on rails and ordered it to pay $1,003,930.00.

YRC Freight will be contacting Teamster local unions to review the lists of drivers who are eligible for the payment.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

UPS And UPS Freight Contract Negotiations Beginning - Get Involved!

UPS and UPS Freight Contract Negotiations will kick off in late January

For an update on the process of negotiations and what you can do to
be involved please join Denis Taylor, Director, IBT Package Division, for
a conference call on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 6 pm eastern time.

You can join by dialing into the number below. You can also sign up at and we will call you and join you to the conference call. Please encourage your fellow members to join this call as well. We must all work together to deliver the strong contract Teamster members deserve.

 WHAT: UPS and UPS Freight Contract
 Negotiations Update Call

 WHEN: Sunday, January 28, 6 pm eastern time

 HOW: Dial into 877-327-9495 and enter pin 111566
 at 6 pm eastern time to be joined to call or go to to register for the call
 and we will call you when the call begins.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Senator Tina Smith Meets With Retirees About Pension Problem

U.S. Senator Tina Smith hit the ground running in the Northland and an important item on her agenda was meeting with retired Teamsters to find a solution to an impending pension problem.

"Some of us for 40 years have made weekly contributions into the Central States Pension Fund," Sherman Liimatainen, the Director of the Minnesota Duluth Committee to Protect Pensions, said.  "they depended on it, we depended on it as our living when we chose to retire after years of service."

The issue they're facing could be devastating.

"They have asked us to take a 60% cut on our pensions," Liimatainen said.

Over $1 billion of pensions for thousands of Minnesotans in the Central States Pension Fund are at risk for being lost.

"These retirees represent about 21,000 teamsters who have paid into a pension their entire working careers and now they find themselves being told that that pension that they counted on, might not be there," Smith said.

The National United Committee to Protect Pensions is proposing a bill that would help save the pensions and Smith plans on backing it.

"Over the next couple of weeks there's going to be a big debate over how to resolve the latest federal budget impasse and I wanted to hear about these issues, because I want to make sure that they get brought forward into that budget discussion that will be happening," Smith said.

She said it's not about numbers, but about how real people will be affected by this.

"There was a woman who retired to take care of her husband with Parkinson's Disease and she's now faced with trying to figure out if she has to go back to work after she's retired just to make sure as she said that she literally isn't living under a bridge," Smith said.  "This is about real peoples' lives and I'm going to take that back to Washington."

Smith continued her tour by visiting the Iron Range.  After leaving Duluth she stopped in Eveleth and Mountain Iron and she said she'll head to Washington D.C. on Sunday, taking what she's learned from Northlanders with her.

Teamsters Applaud Rep. Pete King’s Co-Sponsorship of Butch Lewis Act

Rep. King Joins Sen. Chuck Schumer to Announce Support of Critical Legislation to Address Pension Crisis

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) joined Sen. Check Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a press conference at Teamsters Local 707 in Hempstead, N.Y. to announce his co-sponsorship of the Butch Lewis Act of 2017 (H.R.4444/S.2147), legislation that will assist pension plans facing insolvency. Rep. King is the first Republican member of Congress to join the bill as a sponsor.

The Butch Lewis Act of 2017, which was introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) on Nov. 16, would provide a path to fixing the country’s growing pension crisis by providing the financial support the plans need to avoid insolvency.

“I am proud to support the Butch Lewis Act and I commend Jim Hoffa for his leadership,” Rep. King said. “Protecting retirees who worked hard for their pensions should not be a partisan issue. Republicans and Democrats should work together to allow workers to live their retirement years in dignity. It's time to get started.”

The legislation would establish a new agency that will be called the Pension Rehabilitation Administration (PRA) within the U.S. Treasury Department. The PRA would be authorized to issue bonds in order to finance loans to pension plans in financial distress.

Kevin McCaffrey, President of Teamsters Local 707 joined Rep. King and Sen. Schumer to voice his support for the legislation.

“Like many other workers, our members have unfairly been the victims of failed government policies which have threatened their way of life and plans of retiring with dignity,” McCaffrey said. “I am proud to stand with these two elected officials who are stepping up to make a difference in the lives of working families.”

“The Teamsters Union thanks Rep. King for his leadership in co-sponsoring this bill,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “This legislation is too important to be delayed by partisan politics. The pension crisis must be addressed now, and the Butch Lewis Act is the best option. We must protect the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of active and retired workers across the country.”

Teamsters, ABF to Begin Contract Negotiations in Earnest

The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) will begin contract negotiations in earnest with ABF starting on Monday, January 8, three weeks after exchanging initial contract proposals with the company.

This first round of negotiations will continue through Thursday, January 11 and multiple dates have been scheduled into March.

“We look forward to sitting down with the company to begin addressing our members’ priorities,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC. “We know these will be challenging negotiations, but we are prepared and committed to negotiate a contract that will provide our members with the solid wages, benefits and protections they deserve.”

The current ABF-National Master Freight Agreement runs through March 31, 2018 and covers more than 8,000 members.

After January 11, the following negotiations have been scheduled:

·        Monday, Jan. 29 through Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018;

·        Monday, Feb. 12 through Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018;

·        Monday, Feb. 26, through Thursday, March 1, 2018.

More dates will be scheduled, if necessary.

Visit the new ABF Teamsters Facebook page where members can see the latest updates. Go to “ABF Teamsters” on Facebook. Text "ABF" to 86466 to receive text message alerts (message and data rates may apply).