Friday, July 21, 2006

Oman Trade Agreement Continues Race to the Bottom for American Workers

Official Statement of Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa

The Oman Free Trade Agreement passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives not only will continue our current job-killing, race-to-the-bottom trade model, but it jeopardizes our ability to secure our nation's ports.
The agreement gives Oman and foreign companies incorporated in Oman the
right to own and operate important and sensitive infrastructure in the
United States, including our ports. If such rules had been in place during
the Dubai ports debacle, our government would have had to pay the Emir of
Dubai tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars. Every single member of Congress
who voted for the Oman agreement voted to sell out our nation's security.
Passage of this agreement also sends a message that it is OK to exploit
workers for the benefit of multinationals and the Sultan, and that is not
acceptable to the Teamsters. Labor and worker conditions in Oman are poor.
Oman prohibits unions and collective bargaining while permitting forced
labor and human trafficking.
The Teamsters would like to thank those members of Congress who stood
with us and opposed this deeply flawed agreement. We will continue our
fight against the failed trade policies of the Bush administration. We will
fight for trade agreements that are fair -- and that means raising living
standards and providing enforceable labor standards that protect workers,
both here at home and abroad. The Oman agreement fails on all counts, and
it is the American middle class that will continue to pay the price.

15 ABF Drivers Bound for ATA National Truck Driving Championship

ABF Freight System, Inc., is sending 15 professional truck drivers from 10 states to the 69th National Truck Driving Championships, August 15-19, 2006, in New Orleans. Drivers earn the right to compete in the National Championships by winning state driving championships and by maintaining an accident-free driving record for the past year.

"ABF's excellent reputation for safety and security, backed by an unmatched number of industry awards, comes directly from outstanding employees, like these championship drivers," says ABF President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Davidson. "Behind the wheel, on the dock, in the office, or wherever duty calls, ABF employees are committed to adding value to our customers' supply chain by maintaining the highest performance standards."

Known informally as the "Super Bowl of Safety," the annual event is sponsored by the Safety and Loss Prevention Management Council of the American Trucking Associations to promote driving safety among the nation's three million professional truck drivers. Competitive divisions include straight truck, three-axle, four-axle, five-axle, tank truck, flatbed, five-axle sleeper, twins and auto transporter. The comprehensive competitions include a written examination, personal interview, pre-trip inspection and a driving skills test.

ABF's state champions, including three repeat winners from 2005 and two Grand Champions, are:

Chris Blandford Kentucky Flatbed

Larry Burney Wyoming Tank

Ralph Garcia* New Mexico Sleeper

Paul Good Indiana Five-axle

John Heckman Kentucky Twins

Don Herzog Massachusetts Four-axle

A J Kelly Wyoming Twin

Patrick Leary Minnesota Four-axle

Steve Limas New Mexico Five-axle

Gary Mason Wyoming Five-axle

Nate McCarty* Wyoming Straight

Robert Redding Oklahoma Straight

Dwight Sall Nebraska Three-axle

David Schmuecher Illinois Twins

Tony Spero* Connecticut Flatbed

Steve Limas and Nate McCarty are Grand Champions, each scoring the highest of all drivers in their state championship. An asterisk (*) denotes repeat winners from 2005 state championships.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Arkansas Best Corporation Declares a $0.15/Share

The Board of Directors of Arkansas Best Corporation has declared a quarterly cash dividend of fifteen cents ($0.15) per share to holders of record of its Common Stock $.01 par value on August 1, 2006, payable on August 15, 2006.
Arkansas Best Corporation, headquartered in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is a transportation holding company. ABF Freight System, Inc., Arkansas Best's largest subsidiary, has been in continuous service since 1923. ABF provides transportation of less-than-truckload ("LTL") general commodities throughout North America.

Monday, July 17, 2006

2006 National Truck Driving Championships

Nearly 400 top professional truck drivers from all across the United States soon will be heading for New Orleans to compete in the 2006 National Truck Driving Championships (NTDC) to be held Aug. 15 to 19 in New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The "Super Bowl of Safety" is hosted annually by American Trucking Associations.

The NTDC contestants are the state champions in eight truck classes from all 50 states. In their respective classes -- from 18-wheeled five-axle sleepers to tank trucks to twin trailers to straight trucks and more -- they will compete for four days, challenging their driving skills, and knowledge of safety, equipment and the industry. The skills course tests drivers' ability to judge distances, maneuver tight spaces, reverse, park, and position their vehicle exactly over scales, before barriers or around curves.

When it is all over on Saturday, Aug. 19, a new National Grand Champion Truck Driver will be named, as well as individual class champions and a state champion team. Collectively, these drivers represent over 400 million accident-free miles of driving.

The NTDC annually attracts more than 100 volunteers and 2,000 cheering friends, family, colleagues and interested spectators. All indications show that 2006 in New Orleans will be no different.

"The outpouring of support for New Orleans by truck drivers, their companies and their families captures the spirit of our nation. Having our premier safety event in this hard-hit city demonstrates the industry's confidence in and commitment to the city's recovery. We encourage everyone to join us in New Orleans and experience the thrill of seeing expert driving at its best," said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves.

Referring to the trucking industry's relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Cathy Gautreaux, executive director of the Louisiana Motor Transport Association said: "From day one, the call went out for trucks and the state trucking associations, ATA, and trucking companies from all over America responded immediately. We welcome the opportunity to thank them personally in the very place they helped us so much."

The event is held simultaneous with the North American Inspectors Championships, the annual competition of commercial vehicle inspectors.

Corporate sponsors include: ABF Freight System, Inc.; Boeing Company; Con-way, Inc., Con-way Expedite, Con-way Freight, Conway Truckload; FedEx, FedEx Custom Critical, FedEx Express, FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, FedEx Supply Chain Services; Jevic Transportation, Inc.; Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.; Red Wing Shoe Company; Roadway Express, Inc.; SwitchQuick LLC; UPS Freight; Wal-Mart Transportation, LLC; Watkins Motor Lines, Inc.; Yellow Transportation. Other sponsors include: C & S Wholesale Services; Frito-Lay, Inc.; Herzig Hauling, LLC; J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.; McKee Foods Corporation; and Publix Supermarkets, Inc. In addition to corporate sponsors, the following will be providing equipment for the competition: Freightliner Corp., Groendyke Transport, Inc., International Truck & Engine, Inc., Mack Trucks Inc., Utility Trailer Manufacturing Co., Volvo Truck North America, and Wabash National Corp. through local dealers like Empire Truck Sales, Idealease, and Parish Truck Sales. Also contributing are the State Trucking Associations in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington.

--- Downloadable photos of the competition and lists of champions are available at (click "About NTDC" in right column). Local press can also contact Cathy Gautreaux, Louisiana Motor Transport Association, 225-928-5682.