Friday, April 07, 2006

Teamsters Call Senate Immigration Compromise Bill "Shortsighted"

Official Statement Of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa

April 7, 2006
(Washington, D.C.) — I am pleased the Senate rejected cloture today on an enforcement-only bill put forward by Majority Leader Bill Frist. This legislation is similar to the damaging bill that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. An enforcement-only approach would do nothing to address the fact that we have millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the country.

Yesterday, Senators Martinez and Hagel reached a compromise with members on both sides of the aisle. Due to disagreements on how to address the more than 300 amendments that were filed, the Senate is now stalled on this important debate. Senators promise to continue to work on this legislation during the recess so that the Senate can pass a final immigration comprehensive bill this session.

While many thought that the Martinez-Hagel compromise was fair and acceptable, the Teamsters Union finds it to be shortsighted and problematic.

First, it contains the same, flawed guest worker program that the Teamsters Union opposes. We do not support an expanded new guest worker program that would allow almost half a million new guest workers to enter the country each year, indefinitely.

Time and again, it has been proven that guest worker programs lead to the exploitation of workers. These workers are captive to their employer and often exploited. Guest workers are often times paid less than their U.S. counterparts, which brings wages down for everyone. A modern day “Bracero” program is not what the United States needs.

Also, the earned legalization language in the compromise is incomplete. To divide undocumented immigrants into three categories, treating each group differently, is not a real solution to our broken immigration policies.

The Teamsters Union calls on the Senate to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes smart border security, earned legalization for the 12 million undocumented workers currently here, and no guest worker program.

"Sweet Dreams" Boxing Documentary to premiere


Sports documentaries are a genre in themselves. Miramax has women's basketball documentary "Heart of the Game" being released later this year. ThinkFilms released "Murderball" last year. And of course, who could forget "Hoop Dreams". Well, now we have one for boxing in "Sweet Dreams", which I was lucky enough to preview. Should be a treat for all those who can make it to the festival. Here's the info:

Five-time Full Frame Festival award nominee SWEET DREAMS, which documents the historic first efforts to organize a boxing union, makes its world premiere in Durham, NC on April 8, it was announced by Phantazma Pictures and Tapelist. Audiences can view the trailer at the film's official web site

SWEET DREAMS follows the story of Gary "Tiger" Balletto (27), a Rocky-like Italian-American figure with brutal punch but soft heart, as he struggles to juggle career and family, mentor an off-course bookie, and in his greatest fight of all, unionize the sport through J.A.B. (Joint Association of Boxers).

Spurred by the tragic death of friend Bobby Tomasello in the ring, Balletto campaigns for fighters to gain medical insurance, financial benefits and long-term futures outside the ropes with the help of the Teamster's Union. The film climaxes with a nationally televised ESPN2 fight in which Balletto puts his whole future on the line, delivering a fight scene that rivals any from ROCKY or RAGING BULL.

Current J.A.B. president and former light-heavyweight champion Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, whose role in the materialization of the union is highlighted in the film, said the documentary is an important step in the development of J.A.B. and awareness surrounding it.

With a charismatic star quality, Balletto has all the potential to be next great national media figure. The latest generation in a family lineage of boxers, he emerged from the wrong side of the tracks and single-parent home to become an up-and-coming boxing star in his own right. Balletto's impressive record and IBU World Championship sealed his status as one to watch.

Directed by Eric Latek, and Executive Produced by Evan Friedman, SWEET DREAMS (2006, 126min) premieres at the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, N.C. on Saturday, April 8th at 6:45pm.

Group fights to raise North Carolina's minimum wage

A new coalition group is fighting to boost North Carolina’s minimum wage.

The group, "North Carolinians for Fair Wages," is calling on state senators to pass a new bill before the state House that would raise the minimum wage by 85 cents per hour.

That would up the state’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $6 per hour.

North Carolina tracks the federal minimum wage which has not been raised since 1997. Supporters of the bill said the current minimum wage has lost its value because of inflation.

"They're having to work more hours and harder and both the husband and wife are having to work to meet their most basic needs,” said Sorien Schmidt, N.C Justice Center. “I think it's more of a general understanding by the public that goes much higher than the lowest wage workers but right into middle-income workers that their dollars aren't going as far."

State senators will decide whether or not to pass the bill at the next legislative session on May 9.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

US domestic ground parcel category is headed for a record year in 2005

• The US domestic ground parcel category is headed for a record year in 2005 with shipments poised to exceed the four billion mark for the first time and with revenue approaching US $25-billion, which would also be an all-time record. The Colography Group Inc. made the forecast in releasing its third quarter and nine-month 2005 analysis of the US domestic ground parcel and less-than-truckload (LTL) sectors.

At the same time, U.S. domestic regional less-than-truckload carriers continued to gain share of the LTL market, holding an 82% share of shipments as of September 2005 compared with a 78.5% share at the end of the fourth quarter of 2004. The lone national LTL trucker, the former Yellow Roadway now known as YRC Worldwide, saw its share fall to 18% from 21.5% in that time. However, the market share decline was in the national carrier operations of YRC Worldwide, which are comprised of Roadway Express and Yellow Transportation. YRC Regional Transportation, part of YRC Worldwide, did not lose market share during that period. Yellow Transportation’s market share was flat during that time, while Roadway Express’ market share declined.
Through the first three quarters of 2005, more than 2.99 billion ground parcel shipments moved in US commerce. Should the market match the 1.08 billion shipments moved in the fourth quarter of 2004 — a likely prospect given the fourth quarter is usually the industry’s busiest — volumes would crack the four billion barrier. The current record was set in 2004 at 3.938 billion.

Domestic ground parcel revenue through the first nine months exceeded USD 19.2 billion. Matching 2004’s fourth-quarter revenue of $6.5 billion would push full-year 2005 revenue above the US $25.billion figure.

The revenue gains over the past two years have been driven in part by fuel surcharges imposed to offset the impact of escalating oil prices. In the first quarter of 2004, domestic ground parcel average revenue per pound, or yield, stood at US $0.60. As of the third quarter of 2005, yield was at US $0.63.

On an absolute basis, DHL Express delivered the most impressive performance through 2005’s first nine months. During that time, it transported 94.2 million ground parcel shipments; in all of 2004, it moved 103.3 million shipments. However, it remains to be seen what impact the service issues surrounding the integration of DHL’s two US hubs — most of which occurred in the fourth-quarter — will have on the company’s domestic shipping activity for the rest of 2005.

The Colography Group does not publish final data until 90 days after the close of each financial reporting quarter. Thus, official fourth quarter and full-year 2005 results will not be available until early April.

US domestic LTL traffic through the first nine months totaled 97.04 million shipments, on pace to surpass 2004’s total of 127 million but short of the all-time record set in 2000. Revenue for the first nine months exceeded US $16.4-billion and, barring a complete collapse in the fourth quarter, will break the all-time record of US $20.2-billion set in 2004. The impact of fuel surcharges is a key factor behind the revenue gains. Tonnage gains in 2005 are likely to surpass 2004’s total of 136.5 billion pounds but will fail to set an annual record.

“The song remains the same,” said Ted Scherck, president, The Colography Group. “Regional LTL and ground parcel activity continued strong, while national LTL struggled to hold share. We see nothing on the horizon to reverse this trend. US shipping has moved to a regionally-based, surface-driven model, and there is no turning back.”

Among the key findings in The Colography Group’s U.S. Domestic Surface Traffic And Yield Analysis By Competitor and Market Segment, UPS held 68.1% of the ground parcel shipment market as of September 2005, by far the largest share. UPS, FedEx Ground and DHL Express all gained share over year-end 2004, though DHL Express’ share, despite its impressive shipment growth, declined sequentially through the first nine months of 2005. Much of the overall gains apparently came at the expense of the US Postal Service, whose share of the market fell from 11.4% by the end of the 2004 fourth quarter to 8.4% at the end of the 2005 third quarter.

The Con-Way regional network showed robust share gains during the 2004/2005 period, climbing to 11.9% of shipments in the 2005 third quarter from 9.5% at the end of the 2004 fourth quarter. Con-Way’s performance was the best of all the regional truckers tracked by The Colography Group.

Hoffa Testifies Before Homeland Security Committee, Urges Senate to Protect U.S. Ports, Drivers

International Brotherhood of Teamsters
General President James P. Hoffa testified today before the United States
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and urged
Senators to improve security at America's ports.
"Let me start by telling you what the Teamsters believe," Hoffa stated.
"We believe that American ports should be run by Americans. We believe port
security should be managed by Americans. We believe, as it stands now,
America's ports are dangerously vulnerable. And we believe something can and
should be done about it."
The Teamsters Union has led efforts against the Bush administration's
approval of the sale of U.S. terminal operations to Dubai Ports World, a
company wholly owned by the United Arab Emirates government, and the no-bid
contract awarded to Hutchison Whamboa, a company widely believed to be a front
for the Chinese People's Liberation Army, to inspect cargo containers in the
Bahamas. In fact, three years ago the Bush administration previously rejected,
on national security grounds, a proposal by a subsidiary of Hutchison Whamboa
to purchase a part of Global Crossing.
"We're playing Russian roulette with our nation's security," Hoffa said.
"But no matter how high we build fences or how many Coast Guard cutters patrol
the harbors, our ports remain vulnerable when the gates are left wide open.
And that is the situation at U.S. ports today."
With more than 100,000 port truck drivers currently classified as
independent contractors and operating under the radar, Hoffa urged senators to
address this potential threat to national security.
"Drivers operating illegally in our ports, or operating in or near
bankruptcy, are vulnerable to blackmail and bribery. They are susceptible,
knowingly or not, to people who would harm our country. They are in a position
to smuggle contraband -- or God forbid, a weapon of mass destruction," Hoffa
said. "The system we have now is bad for our ports and bad for America. Once
Congress forces the industry to clean up its act, you will have a workforce
that can pass background checks. A workforce that will be trained, efficient
and productive. A workforce that will be the eyes and ears of our ports -- one
that will make America more secure."

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

YRC Worldwide Schedules First Quarter Conference Call for April 25, 2006

YRC Worldwide Inc. will host a conference call for shareholders and the investment community on Tuesday, April 25, 2006, beginning at 9:30am ET, 8:30am CT. First quarter earnings will be released after the market close on Monday, April 24, 2006.

Hosting the teleconference will be: Bill Zollars-Chairman, President and CEO, YRC Worldwide; Don Barger-Sr. Vice President and CFO, YRC Worldwide; Jim Staley-President, YRC Regional Transportation; James Welch-President, Yellow Transportation; Mike Smid-President, Roadway Express; and Jim Ritchie- President, Meridian IQ.

Investors and analysts should dial 1.888.609.3912 at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the call. The Conference ID number is 6932827.

The conference call will be open to listeners through a live webcast via StreetEvents at and via the YRC Worldwide Internet site

An audio playback will be available beginning two hours after the call ends until midnight on May 9, 2006, by dialing 1.800.642.1687 and then entering the access code 6932827. An audio playback also will be available for 30 days after the call via the StreetEvents and the YRC Worldwide web sites.

Hoffa Testifies Before Congress on Security Risks at U.S. Ports

Hoffa Says Pirate Carriers Operate On Margins With Unqualified Drivers
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa will testify before Congress on April 5, 2006 about security vulnerabilities at our nation’s ports. His testimony will include details about how pirate motor carriers foster an underground economy with large numbers of unqualified drivers operating illegally and near bankruptcy who are vulnerable to exploitation and blackmail.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is the largest transportation union in the United States, representing 1.4 million members, including thousands who work in and around U.S. ports.



Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa


Congressional testimony at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ hearing,
“The Future of Port Security: The GreenLane Maritime
Cargo Security Act”


Wednesday, April 5, 2006
10 a.m.


Dirksen Senate Office Building, SD-342

U.S. transport research firm to study 2006 HOS effect

The American Transportation Research Institute is seeking motor carrier data for a new survey that measures the effects of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s sleeper berth amendment to the hours-of-service rules.
ATRI, a non-profit group that researches freight transportation’s role in maintaining a safe and efficient system, will collect data quarterly in an effort to track changes in driver safety performance and measure it against the overall safety impacts of the previous 2004 hours-of-service rules, which included a more flexible sleeper berth provision.

"Many parts of the trucking industry have expressed concern over the potential safety implications of the new sleeper berth rule," said Dave Osiecki, the American Trucking Associations' vice-president of Safety, Security and Operations. "This data collection effort provides a great opportunity for carriers to share their safety experience under this new sleeper berth rule to see how it compares with the previous, more flexible rule. The analysis of this data could form the basis of an argument for change."

Generally, carriers and drivers liked the 2004 HOS regime
before FMCSA tinkered with the sleeper berth provision
The sleeper berth provision -- which is being challenged in court by groups that include the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association, Teamsters Union and Public Citizen -- altered the sleeper berth exception affecting drivers’ ability to split sleeper berth time.
The new 2005 rule requires drivers to take eight consecutive hours off as part of their 10-hour, off-duty time. Under the 2003 rule, FMCSA included a provision that allowed drivers to obtain the necessary 10 off-duty hours by splitting their sleeper berth in two periods of their own choosing, as long as one was a minimum of two hours long.

ATRI’s study represents the second stage of data collection as part of its continuing research to measure the safety impacts of the hours-of-service rules changes. Information required includes collision and driver injury data covering the period January 1 through March 31, 2006.

Recently, ATRI published the findings from its first hours-of-service study, "Safety Impacts of the New Hours of Service." Generally, the research found that the 2004 driver work and rest rules generated significant improvements in driver safety performance over the previous 2003 HOS regulation that was thrown out by the courts in 2004 for "failing to consider the impact on the health of drivers."

The fleet data from the first study indicates that there were significant decreases in the collision rate per million commercial trucks (-3.7%), preventable collision rate (-4.8%), and non-preventable collision rate (-0.8%). Even larger reductions were observed in the driver injury rate (-12.6%), collision related injury rate (-7.6%), and non-collision injury rate (-13.7%) per million vehicles.

"The findings -- both qualitative and quantitative -- paint a generally favorable picture of the safety and health impacts of the 2004 HOS rules. The aggregated fleet crash and injury statistics for the 23 participating fleets were the most cogent data in support of the 2004 HOS rules. There were significant decreases in each of the key metrics," the report states.

Data for the second study by participating motor carriers should be submitted no later than April 30, 2006. ATRI will be collecting this same data on a quarterly basis throughout 2006. Carriers interested in providing data can contact ATRI’s Virginia Dick at

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Teamsters Call for Responsible Immigration Legislation

Official Statement Of Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa

Yesterday, President Bush toured the ancient Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. As the three North American leaders continue their summit, they risk creating an entirely new set of ruins as they discuss drastic changes in immigration policy.

Immigration is also the hot topic on Capitol Hill, as the Senate considers legislation that includes a number of seriously flawed provisions. While our current immigration system is clearly broken, the Senate is heading down a course that will only make the situation worse. Most egregious is Majority Leader Bill Frist's proposal to criminalize millions of immigrants and anyone who assists them – from priests to doctors to union organizers.

On a positive note, the Teamsters Union does support measures passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee that include smart border security measures, as well as earned legalization for the 12 million undocumented workers in the country who are essential to our economy and communities.

The Committee's inclusion of the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security (AgJOBS) Act of 2005 and the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in its package also marked a step in the right direction. I applaud the Committee members for their hard and tireless work on the legislation and, in particular, Senator Specter for his leadership.

However, Teamsters Union remains deeply concerned about continued discussions – both in Cancun and Washington – of an expanded new guest worker program which would allow millions of new guest workers to enter the country. This proposal is tantamount to government sanctioned indentured servitude for workers, whose rights and livelihoods would be left in the hands of their employers. Historically, guest worker programs have only led to the abuse of workers and the conversion of good fulltime jobs to temporary positions with low pay and poor working conditions.

Earlier this year, with the disastrous implementation of the Medicare prescription program, we saw what happens when profits trump people in the creation of public policy. Congress and the President should make sure that they do not repeat this mistake as they overhaul our nation's immigration laws.