Friday, December 28, 2007

Cross-border truck project stays

Mexican trucks may continue to operate widely in the U.S., under President Bush's interpretation of a new transportation spending law.

The Bush administration contends the law allows as many as 100 companies to go beyond a 25-mile zone inside the U.S. border, in a test program opposed by Congress and organized labor.

"The current cross-border trucking demonstration project, established in September, will continue to operate," the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a statement Wednesday.

Under the funding law, the U.S. "will not establish any new demonstration programs with Mexico," the agency said.

Labor unions, including the Teamsters, and some in Congress have been fighting efforts to open U.S. highways to Mexican trucks since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, citing potential job losses and safety hazards.

The Bush plan to continue the program is "directly in violation with the new law," said Bret Caldwell, a Teamsters spokesman in Washington. The law bans funding for the program and "for them to suggest otherwise is really spitting in the face of Congress," he said.

The law, signed by Bush on Wednesday, says none of the funds it allots may be used "to establish a cross-border motor carrier demonstration program." The Bush administration contends that doesn't apply to its program.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trucking industry debates 11-hour rule

Is it any less safe for a truck driver to be on the road for 11 hours than 10 hours?

The debate over the one-hour difference in “hours of service” has raged since 2003, and it doesn’t look to subside anytime soon.

Federal regulators two weeks ago reiterated a rule originally issued in 2003 that allows over-the-road drivers to work 11 hours followed by 10 hours of rest. Issued by the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the ruling also preserved the provision that allows a driver’s workweek to restart after 34 hours of rest. That replaced the traditional weekend’s rest of two days.

In issuing its interim rule while awaiting public comment, agency administrator John Hill said the government’s data show that vehicle fatality rates fell to an all-time low last year. In addition, fatigue-related truck crashes in the 11th hour of driving have been negligible since 2003.

“This proposal keeps in place hours-of-service limits that improve highway safety by ensuring that drivers are rested and ready to work,” Hill said in a statement. “The data makes clear that these rules continue to protect drivers, make our roads safer and keep our economy moving.”

The American Trucking Associations, which represents big carriers like United Parcel Service Inc. and YRC Worldwide Inc., supported the agency’s ruling. The changes create natural rest and work cycles while giving the industry flexibility, according to the group. Full Story.....

Unions delay presidential endorsements

Amid fears of spending too soon or backing the wrong candidate

Retired dairy worker and Teamsters official Ed Sparks remembers the days here in Iowa when a race for president meant more than just campaign workers knocking on his door looking for support.

Representatives from his national union and others often could be seen trudging up and down the snowy sidewalks of small towns and cities in an all-out effort to get out the vote.

But this year, with only a few days to go until the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3, Sparks has noticed that that presence has precipitously declined.

"It's not as strong as it's been," said the 75-year-old retiree at a recent political rally. "I wish it was stronger."

Indeed, many unions' armies have thinned here this presidential season - and for myriad reasons.

Some have concerns about spending too much during the primary and having less money available for the general election. Others are waiting to see what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire before backing a particular candidate.

John Campbell, Iowa's political director for the United Steelworkers, which is backing former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, said labor has become cautious about early endorsements because so many backed Rep. Richard A. Gephardt in 2004 when he placed fourth in Iowa.

"After 2004, some of the other unions got gun-shy and just don't want to endorse this time around," Campbell said. "Not yet, anyway."

Campbell said he thinks some unions don't want to endorse a candidate now only to have to switch should the candidate fall short in Iowa or New Hampshire, as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees did when it dropped its endorsement of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in 2004 in favor of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.

"Unions have always put up a lot of money, and they will this time," he said. "But some are looking at it that it is the White House that is the prize, not the nomination. So, they're keeping their powder dry for the end game and not expending their energies too soon."

Among the major unions so far sitting out of the endorsement race is the national Service Employees International Union, which has allowed local chapters to back candidates.

Neither the Teamsters nor the Ironworkers union has endorsed candidates, as they did four years ago.

Still, unions aren't silent in this campaign.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has received endorsements from major labor groups, including the American Federation of Teachers and AFSCME.

While rival Sen. Barack Obama hasn't received much support from national unions, he has gotten the backing of some locals, including Illinois AFSCME, which endorsed the Illinois Democrat this month despite the national organization's backing of Clinton.

Edwards, who has been backed by several national unions, has received support from locals as well, including the SEIU in Iowa. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut has received the backing of the firefighters unions, while Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware and Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico have received the backing of local labor unions.

Roberta Till-Retz, a retired labor educator at the University of Iowa and now the communications director for the Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, said she thinks there is less national union involvement this time because the unions are satisfied with the quality of the Democratic field.

"People are happy with the candidates," she said. "The general sense is that we have a great crew of candidates and we want to wait for the general election before spending all our money."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cross-Border Truck Program Must End When Budget Becomes Law

Teamsters to Bush Administration: "Obey the Law"

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today reminded the Bush administration that Congress ordered a stop to the pilot program allowing trucks from Mexico on our highways.

Congress banned funding for the cross-border trucking program as part of the omnibus spending bill passed Wednesday. The Teamsters fought the pilot project from the start because of real concerns that trucks from Mexico aren’t safe.

“We expect the Bush administration to stop this program in its tracks the instant the bill is signed,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has shown over and over that it can’t be trusted to obey the law.

“If FMCSA doesn’t halt long-haul trucks from Mexico at the border, you can bet the Teamsters will be in court to stop them,” Hoffa said.

The Teamsters are already in court—the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco—to halt the cross-border truck pilot project. The spending bill only bans funding for the 2008 budget year, which ends Sept. 30.

“The pilot program was illegal in the first place,” Hoffa said. “Now Congress has made it absolutely clear that it would be lawless for FMCSA to continue it.

The case is expected to be heard in February.

Some trucks from Mexico have been allowed to travel beyond the narrow border zone since earlier this year under the Bush administration’s unsafe pilot program.

Friday, December 21, 2007

70 Drivers, Dockworkers at USF Reddaway in Idaho Join Local 483

Victory is Latest in Card-Check Campaign

Drivers and dockworkers at USF Reddaway in Boise, Idaho are now Teamsters after the company recognized the workers through a card-check agreement on December 13. This marks the latest victory in the union’s card-check campaign throughout the West.

The card-check agreement enabling this latest victory was included in a contract that was ratified in August by workers at Reddaway terminals in California, Arizona and New Mexico. The contract was ratified 216-13 and covers about 400 workers.

In the latest victory, the 70 drivers and dockworkers in Boise are now Teamsters and will be covered by the same contract that was ratified by the larger group of workers. The Boise workers joined Local 483 in Boise.

“We are very pleased to welcome the 70 drivers and dockworkers here in Boise,” said Mark Briggs, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 483. “This campaign continues to have strong momentum, and we will provide excellent representation to these new members.”

The Boise workers are just the latest Reddaway and former USF Bestway workers to join the Teamsters. Workers at the terminals in Los Angeles, Stockton, Sacramento, Benicia, Pomona and San Leandro, all in California, have joined the Teamsters, as well as workers in Phoenix, Arizona; Bellingham, Washington; Denver, Colorado; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

UPS's Long Term Credit Rating Cut

United Parcel Service Inc.'s long- term credit rating was cut from the highest level by Moody's Investors Service because of added debt to leave a Teamsters' pension fund and weakening demand for freight shipments.

The company's senior unsecured rating falls two steps to Aa2 from Aaa, affecting $2.5billion in debt, Moody's said in a statement today. The change follows a review that began Oct. 1, when UPS had been among eight non-financial companies to hold the top rating from both Moody's and Standard & Poor's.

As part of a new Teamsters contract, UPS agreed to pay $6.1 billion to exit the Central States Fund, a multiemployer pension plan for 42,000 union members at the Atlanta-based company. Moody's and S&P both said they would reassess their ratings on UPS debt as a result.

The cost to leave the plan ``was considerably larger than Moody's had anticipated when UPS was rated Aaa,'' said George Godlin, an analyst at the New York-based debt rating company. The decline in freight demand also increases the ``potential for softness in UPS's profits and cash flow going forward,'' he said in the statement.

The rating cut was no surprise to the company, which has been in talks with Moody's, UPS spokesman Norman Black said. The change is ``not a significant financial issue'' for UPS, which based its decision to exit Central States on long-range planning, he said.

FedEx Corp., the second-largest U.S. parcel-shipping company behind UPS, today blamed reduced freight shipments and increased fuel prices for a 6.3 percent decline in its quarterly profit.

UPS's $6.1 billion pretax cost will be partially offset by a $2.3 billion reduction in income-tax expense, the company said today on its Web site.

Debt Increase

The company said its debt will rise by $3.8 billion this year, and its pension obligations will increase $1.7 billion. The change will trim 2008 profit by 9 to 10 cents a share, UPS said.

UPS workers in the Central States Fund will be shifted to a new plan run by the company and the Teamsters.

The five-year Teamsters contract, covering about 240,000 workers such as drivers, clerks and package sorters, takes effect Aug. 1. UPS is the largest employer of the union's members.

YRC Logistics Enters Definitive Agreement To Acquire Shanghai Jiayu Logistics

YRC Worldwide Inc. on Thursday announced that YRC Logistics has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Shanghai Jiayu Logistics Co.

YRC Logistics will acquire 65% of the stock of Jiayu for between US $29.5 million to US $43 million, based upon Jiayu's final 2007 financial performance. YRC Logistics expects to purchase the remaining 35% interest in 2010 for an amount not to exceed $32 million, as determined by the level of Jiayu's 2008-09 financial performances. All payments will be made in Chinese yuan, and their estimated dollar equivalents are provided in this release.

Completion of the acquisition is subject to Chinese regulatory approvals, restructuring of certain of Jiayu's operations and other ordinary conditions to closing. The parties have targeted closing of the transaction for the second quarter of 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

YRC Worldwide Appoints Jim Kissinger Executive Vice President Human Resources

YRC Worldwide Inc. announced today that Jim Kissinger has been named Executive Vice President of Human Resources effective January 2, 2008. He is succeeding Steven T. Yamasaki, who will be leaving the company to pursue a new opportunity.

In this role, Mr. Kissinger will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of human resources including compensation and benefits, talent management, leadership and employee development, and diversity. He will report to Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and CEO of YRC Worldwide.

"Jim will provide leadership and human resource management expertise that will further align our business objectives with our global talent," said Bill Zollars. "He will help lead us in our commitment for excellence with the dedicated employees we have working across this organization."

Most recently, Mr. Kissinger served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Operations for AirCell, where he was responsible for leading corporate staff and operational functions.

Prior to joining AirCell, Mr. Kissinger led the Human Resources organization for Sprint Nextel. His earlier career includes roles in human resources and labor relations for companies such as Beatrice Foods, Lipton Tea and Pepsi Cola General Bottlers.

Mr. Kissinger earned his degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from Rockhurst University.

"I would personally like to thank Steve Yamasaki for his numerous contributions to the organization," stated Zollars. "He has been a great asset to YRC Worldwide and has done an excellent job of leading our human resource organization for the past four years, supporting our employees and our business objectives."

Freight 'Two-Man' Meeting Scheduled January 8

Members Can Review Tentative Agreement After January 8

Representatives from local unions that represent freight Teamsters will meet Tuesday, January 8 in Washington, D.C. to review and approve the tentative National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) that was reached this week with TMI/YRC Worldwide.

Before members review the contract, the January 8 “two-man” meeting must take place first. After the January 8 meeting, local unions are being asked to hold membership meetings during the weekend of January 11-13. Members will get a chance to review the contract during the membership meetings. Then, members will be sent ballots a short time later.

The tentative agreement contains good wage increases and protects members’ jobs and their health, welfare and pension benefits, said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and lead negotiator.

TMI, Trucking Management, Inc., is the primary multi-employer bargaining arm of the unionized freight trucking industry. The subsidiaries include Yellow Transportation, Roadway Express, USF Holland and New Penn.

Teamsters Laud Attorney General for Citing FedEx Ground for Misclassifying Workers

FedEx Violated Massachusetts’ Independent Contractor Law

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has cited FedEx Corporation subsidiary FedEx Ground for intentionally misclassifying 13 pickup and delivery drivers as independent contractors rather than employees.

Coakley also fined FedEx Ground $190,000 in penalties and ordered the company to fix the employment status and pay the 13 drivers restitution. There are more than 400 drivers for FedEx Ground in Massachusetts, and the AG’s office released a press statement today saying the investigation is ongoing.

FedEx has 10 days to appeal the citations to a state administrative law agency. The AG’s office began investigating FedEx this summer after receiving a driver’s complaint over his employment classification.

“I applaud the just actions taken by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley in targeting the scofflaw FedEx Ground,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “FedEx Ground has for too long passed unnoticed as it calls its drivers ‘independent’ but illegally controls them like employees. But FedEx Ground is running out of places to hide. This action in Massachusetts is another nail in the coffin of FedEx’s illegal business model.”

FedEx Ground and its subsidiary FedEx Home Delivery have lost a series of court decisions, labor board determinations and state agency rulings which found the two companies to be misclassifying its drivers as contractors. Most recently, the California Supreme Court refused to review a California Court of Appeal ruling that found single route drivers in that state to be misclassified. The California Supreme Court action ended seven years of litigation and let stand the civil judgment that drivers were company employees.

“FedEx has broken the law here in Massachusetts and the company finally got caught,” said Teamster Local Union 25 President Sean O’Brien. “FedEx Ground drivers in Massachusetts are standing up to this company and winning. We are proud to welcome the drivers in the Wilmington, Mass., terminal as brothers and sisters in Local 25.”

FedEx Home Delivery drivers in Wilmington, Massachusetts voted to join Teamsters Local 25, and in Hartford, Connecticut, voted to join Teamsters Local 671. FedEx has refused to bargain with Local 25 the legally-certified collective bargaining agent; the company has appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit to contest this certification.

Teamsters Blast Republican Senate Leadership for Blocking Trade Adjustment Assistance

Laid-Off Workers Lose Benefits

Thousands of workers who lost their jobs because of bad trade policies won’t get government help because of Senate inaction on Wednesday.

Senate Republican leadership blocked a three-month extension of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides financial assistance and training for workers who lose their jobs when their employers move off shore. The Senate will adjourn without

“This is a slap in the face to workers who have lost their jobs because of bad trade agreements,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Without extending Trade Adjustment Assistance, thousands of workers won’t be able to support their families.

“The Republican leaders are sending a message that they don’t care if jobs go overseas and U.S. workers are left with nothing. How can these senators go back to their home state during the holidays and look workers in the eye?”

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a three-month extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance and a much-needed overhaul of the program.

“It’s bad enough that we won’t get real reform of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program,” Hoffa said. “But because of the opposition of Senate Republicans, laid-off workers won’t get help from the current Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

Hoffa Thanks Congress for Cross-Border Truck Ban

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today praised Congress for banning funds for the Bush administration's reckless pilot program to let trucks from Mexico travel freely on U.S. highways.

The ban was part of the omnibus spending bill that Congress passed Wednesday. The Teamsters opposed the pilot project from the start because of real concerns that trucks from Mexico aren't safe.

"Congress just made driving safer in the United States by ensuring that dangerous trucks from Mexico aren't lurching along our highways like unguided missiles," Hoffa said. "We expect the Bush administration to obey the law and put a stop to this dangerous program as soon as it is signed into law."

Hoffa said the Teamsters have nothing against Mexican truck drivers, just the companies that exploit them.

"Just ask any Teamster who drives in the Southwest," Hoffa said. "This is about safety."

"The Teamsters won't quit our fight to stop the Bush administration's reckless program," Hoffa said. "We will continue our lawsuit to prevent the program from starting up again."

The Teamsters Union is suing to block the program in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The case is expected to be heard in February.

Some trucks from Mexico have been allowed to travel beyond the narrow border zone since earlier this year under the Bush administration's unsafe pilot program

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bush Administration Sides With Trucking Industry, Ignores Drivers

Teamsters Say Regulators Used Flawed Analysis in Their Zeal to Satisfy Trucking Industry

The Bush administration's reinstated hours-of-service rule meets the economic needs of the trucking industry but not the health and safety needs of truck
drivers, a Teamster official told the Senate surface transportation subcommittee on Wednesday.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an
interim final rule last week. The rule, which was twice thrown out by the
court, allows truck drivers to work as many as 84 hours a week.

"The FMCSA is more concerned about the economic viability of the
trucking industry than about the safety and health of the drivers in this
rulemaking," said LaMont Byrd, Teamsters director of safety and health.

The rule is almost identical to the industry's 2003 proposal, Byrd

Byrd said the FMCSA cherry-picked from studies supporting its position
that an 11-hour driving limit did not result in more fatal crashes than the
previous limit of 10 hours.

The Teamsters reviewed the information provided by FMCSA and found that
it does not support the agency's claim.

Byrd said FMCSA acknowledged in the past that the risk of a crash
doubles from the 8th hour to the 9th hour of driving, and doubles again
from the 10th to the 11th hour.

"The Bush administration doesn't care if unsafe Mexican trucks or
exhausted truck drivers endanger everyone traveling on our highways," said
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa.

"The Bush administration could have objectively reviewed the scientific
literature," Hoffa said. "It could have conducted studies to answer any
open questions. It could have talked to truck drivers and safety advocates
and other highway users. But it did none of those things.

"All the Bush administration did was ask the trucking industry for
marching orders," Hoffa said.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first
promulgated the hours-of-service rule increasing the number of hours
truckers can drive in 2003. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
struck down the rule in 2004, but Congress reinstated it as part of the
Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2004.

FMCSA issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January 2005,
proposing a rule that was little changed from the 2003 rule that had been
struck down.

On July 24, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for
the second time threw out the rule that increased driving time to 11 hours
from 10 hours and allowed drivers to go back to work after being off duty
for only 34 hours.

In the 39-page opinion, Judge Merrick Garland called the rule
"arbitrary and capricious."

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was a party in the case,
joining Public Citizen and the Owner-Operator Independent Driver's

The deadline for the court's July decision to go into effect was Sept.
14. But legal challenges pushed that deadline back. FMCSA issued the
interim final rule on Dec. 11.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ship gifts with companies that respect union workers

James P. Hoffa
This week, my wife and I wrapped presents for our grandchildren and shipped them to our son's home in advance of our Christmastime visit. Sure, shipping the gifts is an expense, but it's convenient. More importantly, we shipped our gifts by UPS, enabling us to support hardworking union members and their families.

The package with our grandchildren's gifts is among the tens of millions that hardworking UPS workers will deliver this holiday season, an amazing logistical feat. Another noteworthy achievement is that this unionized workforce is fairly compensated as it powers a company that is thriving on a global scale.

Just last month, 240,000 Teamsters at UPS -- including delivery drivers, sort workers and feeder drivers -- ratified the largest private labor contract in the United States. This agreement secures their strong wages and record employer health, welfare and pension contributions for the next five years. This agreement benefits our local economy -- more than half of the 5,000 UPS workers in Michigan are based here in Metro Detroit.

UPS pact sets standard
Workers will receive annual $1.80-per-hour increases, on average, in benefits and wages for each of the next five years -- bringing the total compensation package to nearly $50 per hour. This contract also establishes a special pension fund for UPS workers, while providing a $6.1 billion payment to solidify the fund they had been in, and which thousands of other Teamsters rely on for their retirement.

"I think this is a very good contract," said Rolly Gerych, a UPS package car driver at the company's Livonia facility.

Often, workers who want to join a union must endure a lengthy, bruising election campaign.

An employer often mounts a vicious anti-union campaign and sometimes unfairly terminates workers often without much concern -- federal labor statutes threaten only small penalties for violating workers' labor rights.

Workers at UPS Freight know the situation well: This subsidiary was the former Overnite Trucking, operated by a notoriously anti-union owner who refused to acknowledge his workers' desire to join the Teamsters.

For more than 50 years, workers at Overnite fought to win a Teamster contract. Yet the owner terminated pro-union employees and failed to negotiate in good faith, according to regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board.

Fight for representation
In October, UPS Freight workers in Indianapolis ratified their first contract with the company. (The drivers and dockworkers endorsed the contract by a 107-1 vote.)

I'm confident that this agreement will convince thousands of workers to become Teamsters.

Along with this new contract, we negotiated an agreement to allow the remaining 15,000 workers at UPS Freight to build their union with the Teamsters simply by signing cards. Anyone familiar with organizing campaigns knows that this is a major victory.

While job security and solid wages are important at any time, at this time of year they can mean even more, especially if we have children. Parents want to provide them with the gift at the top of their list. Many of us remember being 5 or so, pining for a toy.

This holiday season, when shipping gifts for grandchildren and other loved ones, I urge you to use carriers such as UPS and DHL.

Unlike FedEx, all UPS employees and some 12,000 Teamsters work in the DHL system, are union members.

Workers at these carriers receive strong wages and solid benefits for themselves and their families. Make this holiday season better by using these fine carriers.

Friday, December 14, 2007

YRC Worldwide, Teamsters reach tentative accord on new contract

YRC Worldwide Inc., the country’s biggest trucker, has reached tentative agreement with the Teamsters union on a contract, more than three months before the existing pact is to expire.

The union represents nearly 50,000 drivers and dock workers who work for several YRC subsidiaries, the biggest being Yellow Transportation and Roadway. YRC is based in Overland Park.

The Teamsters negotiated the five-year agreement with Trucking Management Inc., or TMI, the negotiating arm of the unionized trucking industry.

After ABF Freight System pulled out of TMI and the consolidation in recent years of unionized carriers, YRC subsidiaries are the only remaining members of TMI. They are Yellow Transportation, Roadway and USF Holland.

YRC and the Teamsters began negotiations in early October, and the company hoped that a new contract could be reached before March 31, when the existing agreement will expire.

With YRC struggling to maintain freight volume in a slowing economy that YRC chief Bill Zollars has characterized as recessionary in some sectors, analysts said the trucking company was eager to get a new deal quickly.

Many trucking customers sign contracts choosing their carriers before the end of the year. As revenue and profits continue to plummet, analysts said, YRC could ill afford to have freight diverted early next year as a strike deadline loomed.

“The early outcome of these negotiations is positive for our employees and positive for our customers,” said Mike Smid, president and chief executive of YRC North American Transportation. “With the major hurdle of the NMFA (national contract) behind us, we are now positioned to remain competitive in a very challenging industry environment.”

Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president, said the new contract would protect the jobs and benefits of the union’s membership.

Tyson Johnson, head of the union’s freight division and lead negotiator, said the new agreement would improve grievance procedures for workers and addressed the issue of forced overtime, which had been regarded as a key concern of workers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Arkansas Best's vice president to retire

Arkansas Best Corporation has reported that vice president John Meyers will retire on January 31, 2008, concluding over 34 years with the company.

Robert Davidson, president and CEO of Arkansas Best, said: "I want to thank Bob for his many years of valuable service to our company. Since his arrival in the early 1970s, Bob has helped develop and positively influence many of the areas that have made Arkansas Best and ABF successful. More recently, his oversight of several of our non-ABF subsidiaries has been important to the overall development of our corporation."

Robert Young III, chairman of Arkansas Best, said: "During his time with Arkansas Best, Bob Meyers has always displayed a knack for providing fresh ideas and efficient management over his areas of responsibility."

Longer days for truckers may stick

U.S. long-haul truck drivers can continue to spend as much as 11 hours a day behind the wheel, after a federal agency refused to return to lower limits sought by safety advocates.

The U.S. Transportation Department, in an interim rule issued Tuesday, sided with the trucking industry and upheld a 2004 increase in daily driving time from 10 hours. The rule also keeps a 14-hour daily limit for drivers to be on duty.

"There have been a lot of allegations and innuendo" about greater safety risks since the longer workdays began, John Hill, the top U.S. trucking regulator, said Tuesday. "What the data show is that is untrue."

The rule is a win for the American Trucking Associations trade group, whose members include United Parcel Service and YRC Worldwide. Trucking companies said shorter workdays boost costs by requiring more drivers to move the same amount of freight, while consumer groups such as Public Citizen say drivers who work fewer hours are less likely to have accidents.

The new rule also permits drivers reaching 60 hours on-duty in seven days to return to work after 34 hours. Before 2004, they had to wait out the seven-day period.

Public Citizen will challenge the rule in court if the final version retains the longer hours, said Joan Claybrook, president of the organization. Regulators may publish the final rule next year, she said.

Bush Administration Weakens Truck Safety

Teamsters Say Regulators Co-Opted by Industry

The Teamsters union regrets the Bush administration’s decision Tuesday to side with the trucking industry rather than the driving public by reinstating a rule that undermines highway safety.

The hours-of-service rule, which allows truck drivers to work as many as 17 more hours a week, was twice thrown out by the court.

“The Bush administration is recklessly endangering the lives of all Americans driving on our highways,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “Longer hours for truck drivers behind the wheel and unsafe Mexican trucks on our highways will jeopardize public safety.”

“It’s clear the Bush administration has more loyalty to its corporate supporters than to the men and women who actually drive on our roads,” Hoffa said. “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in particular is showing that it is held captive by the trucking industry.”

On July 24, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the second time threw out the rule that increased driving time to 11 hours from 10 hours and required drivers to be off duty for only 34 hours before going back to work.

In the 39-page opinion, Judge Merrick Garland called the rule “arbitrary and capricious.”

Hoffa said the Teamsters do not believe there is evidence that the new rule is safer, and plenty of evidence to show that it is not.

“There has been no peer-reviewed study published that shows this rule is safer than the previous rule,” Hoffa said.

“Further, Congress ordered that the health of the driver be taken into consideration, which FMCSA has once again ignored,” Hoffa said.

In the first court decision, FMCSA was cited for failing to take into account the health of the driver.


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) first promulgated the hours-of-service regulation increasing the number of hours truckers can drive in 2003. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the rule in 2004, but Congress reinstated it as part of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2004.

FMCSA issued a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in January 2005, proposing a rule that was little changed from the 2003 rule that had been struck down.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters was a plaintiff in the case, joining Public Citizen and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

The legal deadline for the court’s July decision to go into effect was Sept. 14. But legal challenges pushed that deadline back.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Writers show support at Teamster rally

99 USF Reddaway Freight Workers Join Local 150

Drivers, Dockworkers in Sacramento Win Strong Voice

Ninety-nine linehaul and pickup and delivery drivers and dockworkers at USF Reddaway in Sacramento, California are now Teamsters, after the company recognized the workers through a card-check agreement. This marks the latest victory in the union’s card-check campaign throughout the West.

The card-check agreement, enabling this latest victory, was included in a contract that was ratified in August by workers at Reddaway terminals in California, Arizona and New Mexico. The contract was ratified 216-13 and covers approximately 400 workers.

The drivers and dockworkers in Sacramento, who joined Local 150, will be covered by the same contract that was ratified by the larger group of workers.

“Many of these workers had signed authorization cards months ago, but when USF Reddaway merged terminals, we had to restart the process,” said Jim Tobin, Secretary-Treasurer of the Sacramento-based Local 150. “The workers remained committed to becoming Teamsters, and now they will have a strong voice. We will provide them with strong representation.”

The company recognized the workers on December 5.

Friday, December 07, 2007

USF Holland Announces Faster Transit Times

USF Holland, an operating unit of YRC Regional Transportation, has accelerated delivery times between cities on 26 lanes. The lane pairs that have been upgraded to next-day delivery are:

-- Charlotte, NC to and from Evansville, IN, Fort Wayne, IN and Indianapolis, IN -- Chattanooga, TN to and from Toledo, OH -- Cleveland, OH to and from Appleton, WI -- Dayton, OH to and from Tomah, WI -- Detroit, MI to and from Greensboro, NC -- Fort Wayne, IN to and from Chattanooga, TN, Greensboro, NC and Harrisburg, PA and Minneapolis, MN -- Indianapolis, IN to and from Greensboro, NC, Harrisburg, PA and Minneapolis, MN -- Joliet, IL to and from Buffalo, NY -- Kansas City, MO to and from South Bend, IN and Milwaukee, WI -- Knoxville, TN to and from Chicago, IL, Bensenville, IL, Joliet, IL and Wheeling, IL -- Raleigh, NC to and from Louisville, KY -- Rock Island, IL to and from Lexington, KY -- South Bend, IN to and from Harrisburg, PA and Chattanooga, TN -- Toledo, OH to and from Greensboro, NC

"We are pleased to offer the advantage of a reconfigured network with faster service," said John O'Sullivan, President of USF Holland. "In addition, loading patterns designed for the direct transfer of goods mean that shipments are handled less and benefit customers by giving even better damage- free delivery performance," concluded O'Sullivan. "That's why USF Holland has one of the best claim ratios in the industry."

Customers look to USF Holland for reliable next-day delivery. With nearly half its lanes being served next-day, the company has more next-day lanes within its operating area than any other transportation company with comparable coverage. By re-engineering 2,500 lanes, USF Holland has attained a greater efficiency in moving, more shipments further and faster. This also allows USF Holland to provide greater flexibility to make pickups later in the day and still meet stringent transit standards.

"USF Holland has built its reputation on extremely reliable, claim-free next-day service," O'Sullivan continued. "Upgrading these lanes to next-day delivery is the most effective way for our customers to benefit from a 'USF Holland level' of service to and from America's Heartland."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Teamsters Rally at San Diego Border

Hoffa Leads Teamster Rally Against Cross-Border Trucking

Early-Morning Demonstration on Border Urges Congressional Action
Teamsters rallied Wednesday to show they oppose letting unsafe trucks from Mexico drive on U.S. highways.

Led by Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, the group urged Congress to end the dangerous cross-border trucking program. The early morning rally was held at the Otay Mesa border crossing.

“If Congress won’t act to protect drivers on U.S. highways, the Teamsters will convince the court to do so,” Hoffa said. “American motorists shouldn’t have to pay the price for George Bush’s recklessness in pushing this program forward.”

Both the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly to ban funding for the pilot project earlier this year. The bill—a spending bill known as Transportation-HUD—must still pass the Senate before it reaches President Bush’s desk.

Under the pilot program, only a handful of Mexican motor carriers are currently allowed to travel beyond the narrow border zone.

The Teamsters have continued the court battle to stop the program since unsuccessfully seeking an emergency injunction in September.

Joined by the safety group Public Citizen, Teamsters filed arguments on Monday with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The brief responded to the Bush administration’s arguments. The Teamsters filed their first brief on Oct. 19.

“We filed hundreds of pages of legal arguments in the past few months that show the Bush administration broke the law in dozens of ways with this so-called 'pilot project,'” Hoffa said.

“Mexican trucks driving on our roads have to be as safe as U.S. trucks,” Hoffa said. “That’s the law. But the Bush administration just ignores the law.

“Drivers who would be disqualified from holding a U.S. commercial drivers license could still drive around the U.S. if they’re based in Mexico.

“Mexican drivers don’t have the mandatory training that U.S. drivers have. Mexican drivers don’t have to meet the same strict drug-testing requirements that U.S. drivers do.

“Mexican drivers don’t have to comply with U.S. rules on how long they can drive,” Hoffa said. “.So someone could drive 10 hours in Mexico before arriving at the U.S. border and then drive another 11 hours inside the United States, even though U.S. rules don’t allow 21 hours of driving.

“I totally reject the argument that the Teamsters are against Mexican truck drivers,” Hoffa said. “We are against the companies that exploit them and the governments that don’t live up to their responsibilities to make sure the highways are safe.”

Hoffa Condemns Senate Passage of Peru Free Trade Agreement

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said today that Congress has failed American workers with Senate passage of the Peru Free Trade Agreement.

The Senate voted 77-18 in favor of the agreement today. Last month, a majority of House Democrats voted against the agreement despite its passage.

"It is outrageous that Congress and the Bush administration have approved yet another job-killing trade agreement at a time when American families are seeing their jobs shipped overseas, their food and toys tainted, their wages decline and their houses foreclosed upon," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "Workers here and in Peru deserve better."
Hoffa also criticized President Bush for his remarks today calling for passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

"The model is wrong - it will not lead to job creation and it will hurt workers," Hoffa said. "Colombia also is the most dangerous country in the world to be a union member. More union members are killed there than in the rest of the world combined."

Hoffa said the Peru Free Trade Agreement is wrong for the United States because:

-- Foreign investors based in Peru will have the right to question our domestic laws and receive compensation if such laws undermine corporate profits.
-- Incentives are provided for U.S. companies to leave the United States under the investment chapter of the agreement.
-- The sovereignty of local, state and federal U.S. government bodies will be undermined. Foreign companies will be able to bypass "Buy America" laws.
-- Nothing will change for the 33,000 slave-laborers cutting down the Amazonian rainforest.
-- Subsistence farmers will be forced off their land because cheap U.S. food produced by agribusiness will undercut their prices. The same thing happened with the North American Free Trade Agreement, which resulted in millions of poor Mexicans leaving their farms.
-- According to some interpretations, Citibank will have the right to sue the Peruvian government if the country tries to reverse its disastrous system of privatized Social Security - thus allowing a powerful multinational to profit at the expense of the elderly, the sick and the poor.

"American workers are fed up with the consequences of our reckless free trade policies -- their good jobs vanishing," Hoffa said. "You can bet this is an issue that won't go away before next year's election."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Teamsters Applaud California Supreme Court Ruling Against FedEx Ground

209 FedEx Ground Drivers to Receive Share of $11 Million Settlement

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa commended the California Supreme Court for denying FedEx Corp.’s final appeal of lower court rulings determining that FedEx Ground’s independent contractors are direct employees.

“Thanks to the California Supreme Court, FedEx is going to have to compensate these drivers for exploiting them for so many years under its bogus independent contractor model,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “FedEx’s illegal model has been exposed and drivers across the country are standing up for their rights and proper compensation.”
In August, the California Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that the drivers are employees and not independent contractors. FedEx, in an attempt to limit future liabilities, responded in California by firing the drivers who were affected by the court decisions.

The 209 workers will receive a share of more than $11 million in repayments for expenses related to gas and insurance directly related to the execution of their jobs. In addition to the California case, 150 FedEx Ground workers in South Bend, Indiana, are also challenging the company classifying them as independent contractors. A federal judge certified the class-action lawsuit in October that claims the company denied the drivers benefits and proper wages.

“It’s game over for FedEx and its independent contractor scam,” Hoffa said.

Teamsters, TMI Report 'Steady Progress' at National Freight Talks

Both Sides Exchange Contract Proposals

Teamster leaders and representatives of Trucking Management Inc. said today that National Master Freight Agreement talks are going well two days after both sides exchanged national contract proposals in Washington, D.C.

The progress this week maintains the strong momentum that has taken place since both sides announced early negotiations in late August 2007. Also, both sides made progress negotiating the supplemental agreements in October.

Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Jim Roberts, president of TMI, the primary multi-employer bargaining arm of the unionized freight trucking industry, issued the following statement:

“We are making steady progress on the non-economic issues and we hope to continue progress when negotiations resume December 5. At the current rate of progress, there is no reason that we won’t soon finish the non-economic issues and we have already had initial discussions of the economic issues. We will soon have further discussions of economic issues, including wages, pensions and health and welfare benefits. Both sides are serious about addressing the issues and we are committed to bargaining in good faith. Our goal is to negotiate a contract that will address the needs of the Teamster-represented employees and address the needs of TMI-represented companies.”

Talks continued Thursday, November 29 and will resume December 5.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Organized labor aims to rekindle its fire

Jim Kabell was frustrated and disappointed. He stood in front of a mostly empty Teamsters hall to introduce a very important speaker.

At least that's what he thought.

The agenda featured a rousing speech about the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots and what working people can do about growing inequality in this country.

Kabell had been excited. It would remind people of their power to come together and make things happen.

He'd expected between 200 and 400 people to come hear Tom Woodruff, executive director of the Service Employees International Union and the organizing director of Change to Win, a new coalition of unions seeking to increase union membership and their political clout.This is what gets your blood pumping if you're a union member, Kabell thought.

But where was everybody?

Complete story........

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DHL and The HoneyBaked Ham Company Partner to Bring the Holiday Spirit to Troops Overseas

DHL, the world’s leading express delivery and logistics company, announced a first-of-its-kind holiday delivery program with The HoneyBaked Ham Company, enabling friends, family, and loved ones to order fully-prepared, ready to enjoy holiday hams for delivery to U.S. servicemen and women serving abroad. DHL was recently chosen by HoneyBaked Foods, Inc., one of the shipping divisions of The HoneyBaked Ham Company, for an exclusive arrangement for this military base program.

Orders are being collected now for deliveries in December for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, as DHL gets ready to accept thousands of fresh hams from HoneyBaked Foods headquarters in Holland, Ohio. DHL will provide door-to-door delivery service of fresh hams from the U.S., directly to Camp Anaconda and Freedom in Iraq and U.S. military bases in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

DHL was the first international air express carrier to provide service to Iraq and Afghanistan following the lifting of sanctions and operates the most extensive logistics service into these countries. DHL announced the start of operations to Afghanistan in March 2002 and Iraq in March 2003.

“DHL was the only express carrier that had the operational flexibility, global network, and customer-focused spirit to help us overcome the challenges of getting fresh-frozen, perishable product thousands of miles away to the men and women serving our country,” stated Daniel P. Kurz, President at HoneyBaked Foods, Inc. “We’re pleased to partner with DHL to help soldiers, friends, family and loved ones send a taste of back home to U.S. troops overseas.”

HoneyBaked Foods flash freezes the hams to ensure freshness, places them each in a freezer bag which is protected in a heat-sealed insulated bag containing a reusable ice pack, and finally places them in a reusable insulated cooler and covered with a durable polyethylene film.

DHL will then collect and transport bulk containers of hams for delivery to DHL’s principal air and ground hub in Wilmington, Ohio. From there, the hams are flown to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, and tendered aboard a direct flight to Bahrain. A combination of regional flights and trucking services complete the direct delivery to military bases, with the entire process from door-to-door completed in 72 hours or less.

“We’re pleased to partner with HoneyBaked Foods and help those away from home feel a little closer to their loved ones this holiday season,” said Charles Brewer, Executive Vice President of Sales for DHL. “DHL leverages its global network and customer-focused approach to bring people closer together during the holidays and all year ‘round.”

For a listing of store locations nationwide, visit To order a ham to send to troops overseas, visit and click on the American flag for the ordering information. Various sizes of The HoneyBaked Ham® are available, ranging from 7 to 16 lbs.

YRC: Skidding to Super-Cheap Territory

For some time now, John Neff, the legendary former portfolio manager at Vanguard Windsor and a member of the Barron's Roundtable has been singing the praises of YRC Worldwide, the trucking company formally known as Yellow Roadway. We joined the chorus this year, when the stock was trading at 40. Alas, the shares now fetch 17.

At the risk of causing a pile-up, Neff says he still likes YRC. And so do we.

"Earnings haven't lived up to expectations," Neff notes, though he thinks the stock "is a steal here." Surging oil prices and disappointing volume, among other culprits, have hurt the bottom line, and given today's soft economy "earnings are not going to be good this year," Neff warns. He assumes that U.S. gross domestic product will grow just 1.5%-2% next year.

Yet he thinks YRC's profits could rise to $3 a share in 2008 from this year's expected $2.30, while its shares could rally to 25-30. Based on these estimates, the stock still would trade for only eight to 10 times profits. With a stock-market value of less than $1 billion, YRC also could be an acquisition target. "It's a sitting duck," he says.

Based in Overland Park, Kan., YRC is one of the world's largest freight-transportation-service providers, with brands including Yellow Transportation, Roadway, Reimer Express, USF, New Penn Motor Express and YRC Logistics.

The company ships industrial, commercial and retail goods domestically and internationally. It operates some 100,000 tractor-trailers, 90% of which it owns, and has north of 800,000 customers.

Says CEO Bill Zollars: "People are finally waking up to the fact" that the demand for hard goods is "deteriorating" and the economy has been "challenging." But he contends that YRC stock is "a great buy, with tremendous upside" when the economy begins to rebound. That could happen by the second half of 2008. Trucking volume, however, usually picks up three to six months before the data show a recovery.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Zollars: 'Parts of U.S. economy may be in recession'

Parts of the U.S. economy may already be in recession and the U.S. Federal Reserve should cut rates by up to 50 basis points to boost economic growth, the top executive of North America's largest trucking company said on Friday.
"We may already have parts of the economy that are in recession," Bill Zollars, Chief Executive of YRC Worldwide Inc., told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I think the Fed needs to do more to help boost the economy."
"They should cut rates by at least a quarter point, or a half point," he added.
Last month Zollars told Reuters that he thought the U.S. economy faced a "more than 50-50 chance of a recession."
"We are pretty much in the same downward trajectory right now," he said on Friday. "Regardless of what you call it, it's pretty tough out there for a lot of people right now."
Overland Park, Kansas-based YRC is a less-than-truckload operator. Less-than-truckload companies consolidate smaller loads into a single truck.
The U.S. trucking sector has struggled with declining freight volumes since the third quarter of 2006. Some analysts and truck company officials say the sector is in the midst of a "freight recession."
As well as slowing economic growth, the industry has been hurt by the housing slowdown, declining auto sales by U.S. domestic automakers and lackluster retail sales.
Oil's rise to nearly $100 a barrel has not helped trucking companies or their clients.
"The price of oil is really hurting our customers right now," Zollars said.
Like many transportation companies, YRC passes on higher fuel costs to customers via fuel surcharges.
With all these headwinds, Zollars said, "It's not clear when this (U.S. economic growth) is likely to turn around."
In trade on Nasdaq YRC shares were trading up 14 cents at $16.67.
YRC hit a 52-week high of $47.09 on Feb 22. The shares reached a 52-week low this Wednesday of $15.87.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

YRC Worldwide, Inc. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer to Ring the NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell

Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of
YRC Worldwide, Inc. will preside over the opening bell.

NASDAQ MarketSite - 4 Times Square - 43rd & Broadway - Broadcast Studio

Friday, November 23, 2007 at 9:30 a.m. ET

A live webcast of the NASDAQ Opening Bell will be available at:

Monday, November 19, 2007

LTL Carriers Fall

Shares of less-than-truckload carriers fell in trading Monday, after a JPMorgan analyst said weak demand and oversupply will likely make 2008 worse than previously expected.

Less-than-truckload, or LTL carriers, usually fill their trucks with freight from a variety of sources and re-sort and redistribute it at company terminals along their routes.

Analyst Thomas R. Wadewitz said he expects less-than-truckload carriers to continue to increase capacity going into 2008, likely compounding current problems with weak demand.

And it appears demand won't pick up anytime soon. This was most recently suggested by FedEx Corp., which lowered its outlook for the fiscal second quarter and full year on Friday, blaming a sluggish U.S. freight market.

Pricing is also becoming increasingly competitive, Wadewitz added.

Wadewitz lowered his 2008 earnings estimates for the sector, and said he only expects growth from a lone carrier _ Con-way Inc. _ because of its company initiatives and recent acquisition.

Over the long-term, he noted Con-way and Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. could be good investments, although there are few catalysts to drive the stocks anytime soon.

Also Monday, Longbow analyst Lee A. Klaskow lowered his fourth-quarter and full-year estimates on YRC Worldwide Inc. _ the largest less-than-truckload carrier by revenue _ citing declining tonnage, increased competition and higher costs.

However, the analyst noted that the company's position as a market leader should help its performance improve in the first quarter of 2008.

In midday trading, YRC Worldwide Inc. fell 16 cents to $17.43, while Con-way Inc. lost 5 cents to $40.37.

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. fell 86 cents, or 3.8 percent to $21.65. Arkansas Best Corp. slipped 69 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $22.84.

Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap

All Aboard CSX

There are companies like YRC Worldwide and FedEx that are down significantly, yet no one's asking questions, Cramer said.

Then the railroads, specifically CSX, a stock that is up 17% for the year, are being badgered.

The Children's Investment Fund, a London-based asset management firm, has been writing angry letters, urging CSX to revamp its governance. But as far as Cramer can tell, CSX CEO Michael Ward has done nothing but make his shareholders richer.

So why are hedge funds letting companies like YRC Worldwide and FedEx get by and picking on CSX? Ward joined Cramer on the show to shed some light.

"We're very proud to stand by our record," Ward said, noting CSX has tripled its dividend during his tenure and has a strong buyback program, "I don't get it either."

When Cramer asked if TCI is motivated by CSX spending too much on the company rather than giving back to shareholders, Ward said the capital CSX spends is "very much in line with the rest of the industry."

The board did a thorough analysis of all the various claims that TCI had lodged and went through the various suggestions they proposed, Ward said. However, none of their ideas made sense, and some hurt the industry, he said.

"We've really been working hard for our shareholders for the last three years" and Ward said they will continue to do so.

There are so many CEOs Cramer said he can't stand, and he doesn't understand why TCI is picking on one that's making market players money. "I say buy CSX," he said.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Trucking sector slowdown weighs on YRC shares

YRC Worldwide Inc. fell more than 12 percent Friday after shipper FedEx Corp. cut quarterly and full-year profit estimates and an analyst cut earnings estimates for the trucking sector.

YRC Worldwide shares, already trading at prices not seen since August 2002, slipped from Thursday’s 52-week low of $20.01 to $17.39, the lowest price since June 2001. Shares closed Friday at $17.59, down $2.52 or 12.53 percent.

Shares of YRC Worldwide fell along with those of FedEx, which cut its second-quarter profit estimate and its estimate for the full year on rising fuel costs and lower shipping volume.

FedEx shares closed down $4.57, or 4.51 percent, at $96.80. Larger rival United Parcel Service Inc. fell $1.09, or 1.49 percent, to $72.01.

Robert W. Baird analyst Jon Langenfeld cut his earnings estimates for the trucking sector, saying current freight trends indicate the fourth quarter will be worse than expected.

Langenfeld cut his price target for YRC Worldwide shares to $22 from $28, citing an expected impact related to a Teamsters pension plan.

In an interview Friday with Dow Jones Newswires, YRC Worldwide chairman and chief executive officer Bill Zollars said his company is facing the same conditions as FedEx. He said YRC stopped giving earnings guidance around the middle of this year because of the difficulty in forecasting conditions in the market.

“We basically threw up our hands,” Zollars said

Thursday, November 15, 2007

House Passes Ban on Cross-Border Truck Program

Funding Prohibition Part of Transportation Spending Bill

The House of Representatives today passed the transportation spending bill that includes a ban on funding the Bush administration's cross-border truck program.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said he fully expected the funding ban to win final passage because of its overwhelming support from Congress and the public.

"Letting trucks from Mexico drive everywhere in America is unpopular for a good reason: it's dangerous and illegal," Hoffa said.

The Senate is expected this week to pass the same bill, known as Transportation-HUD or THUD. The spending bill reconciles separate versions passed by both chambers. President Bush has said he will veto the bill.

"The Teamsters won't quit the fight to stop the Bush administration's reckless program," Hoffa said. "Our members will urge their representatives to override the veto, and we will continue our lawsuit to prevent the program from starting up again."

The Teamsters union is suing to block the program in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The union submitted its arguments to the court in October and the government has until Monday to reply. The case is expected to be heard in February.

Earlier this year, the Teamsters sought unsuccessfully to obtain an emergency injunction blocking the program before it began. Since then, a handful of trucks from Mexico have been allowed to travel beyond the narrow border zone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

ABX Air issues default notice to DHL

ABX Air declared Friday that DHL is "in default" of its contracts with the Ohio-based airline that transports cargo throughout the US for the express giant. ABX has both an ACMI and a hub and line-haul service agreement with DHL under which the latter reimburses the former for many of the expenses incurred while conducting DHL business. But the contracts stipulate that the reimbursements are reduced substantially if ABX's total revenue from non-DHL operations exceeds 10%, and DHL claims that threshold has been topped.

ABX said in a statement that DHL's calculation is flawed, insisting revenue generated from non-DHL operations is below 10%. President and CEO Joe Hete added that the decision to file documents formally with the US Securities and Exchange Commission alleging contract default "was taken only after intensive efforts on our part to resolve this issue directly with DHL." Despite the dispute, he said ABX "is today and intends to remain DHL's principal US business partner."

Monday, November 12, 2007

ABF Among Best Companies To Sell For

For the sixth consecutive year, ABF Freight System, Inc.(R), is ranked among the top 10 of Selling Power magazine's listing of the 25 best U.S. companies to sell for in the service sector. ABF(R), which ranks seventh overall, was again the highest-ranking transportation company on the magazine's 2007 listing.

"ABF always strives to be a leader in recruiting, training and equipping sales professionals who are empowered to serve the specific needs of our customers. So it is gratifying to have our efforts recognized by this prestigious publication," says ABF Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Roy Slagle.

The corporate research team at Selling Power annually identifies and ranks the best companies to sell for in the U.S., focusing on companies with sales forces of 500 or more. Assessments are based on compensation, training and career mobility. Selling Power ranks the top 25 manufacturing companies and the top 25 service companies to complete its annual list of the 50 best companies to sell for.

"Because our employees are trained to think critically and proactively respond to each customer's unique requirements, ABF customers benefit from a representative who helps them anticipate supply-chain challenges and meet them head on with customized solutions," says Slagle.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Two KC-area leaders have differing views on Fed's rate cut, state of economy

The Federal Reserve botched its recent interest rate cut, contend two high-profile Kansas City area leaders fretting the fate of the economy.

On that much, at least, they agree. Here’s where they differ: One wanted more, and the other wanted none at all.

Worldwide financial markets wobbled all week with indecision about who is right and whether we should worry more about recession or inflation. The focus of debate is the Fed’s quarter-point cut in short-term interest rates on Halloween. It was the central bank’s second cut in six weeks.

That’s not good enough, says Bill Zollars, chief executive officer of YRC Worldwide Inc. in Overland Park. Zollars has built YRC, formerly Yellow Freight, into a 20 percent share of the nation’s over-the-road hauling capacity. His read of transport volumes, considered a reliable indicator of future economic activity, suggests the economy is hitting the brakes.

“People are still underestimating the softness out there,” Zollars said. “In the shipment economy — people who make stuff and retailers — I think we are in a recession.”

Story Continues......

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bush Board Launches Massive New Assault on Workers

With its term coming to an end, the Bush Administration's craven fealty to the most extreme interests of corporate America is reaching unprecedented heights in agency rule making throughout the government. It is hard to believe that any is more egregious however than the massive assault on worker rights by the Bush majority on the National Labor Relations Board last month.

In the month of September alone, on the eve of the close of the fiscal year, the Bush NLRB issued 61, mostly anti-worker, decisions -- fully 20 percent of its total output of decisions for the year.

The National Labor Relations Board was established to encourage "the practice and procedure of collective bargaining" and to protect the "exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid and protection."

We have said for years that the NLRB system is broken and has become a tool of corporate interests and not the worker interests it was supposed to serve. That is why the labor movement and its progressive allies are pushing to amend the law with the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). But the recent NLRB decisions say that the corporate Bush backers are not satisfied. They want the law completely eviscerated before Bush leaves office to make it even more difficult for a new President and Congress to address the problems of the denial of worker rights in America.

The onslaught of decisions that are a direct violation of the intent of the National Labor Relations Act that established the NLRB is particularly interesting given that more than half of the decisions were on cases that are over four years old. For an agency notorious in its use of delay as a way to deprive workers of their rights, the sudden spate of decisions suggests that the Bush Administration is in full court press mode and will use its last months in office to gut as much as it can in the area of worker, consumer, environmental, and other protections.

This President has not only run roughshod over the Constitution, he has also destroyed the administrative rules by which our progressive laws have been enforced. And he plans on finishing the job before he leaves office. Labor, consumer, environmental, and other advocates for the American Dream need to link arms together to stop him.

Greg Tarpinian is the Executive Director of Change to Win.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Leaders Make Progress at Freight Supplement Talks

National Proposal-Exchange Set For November 26

Teamster leaders made significant progress in October during negotiations involving supplements as the union prepares to exchange national contract proposals with the bargaining arm of the unionized general freight trucking industry.

"The leaders from freight local unions accomplished a great deal during October, giving us strong momentum in the 2008 National Master Freight Agreement negotiations," said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. "However, some supplemental issues need to be resolved in the coming weeks."

The union is scheduled to exchange national contract proposals on November 26 with Trucking Management, Inc., (TMI), the primary multi-employer bargaining arm of the unionized freight trucking industry.

"We will exchange national proposals once the major supplemental issues are resolved," Johnson said.

As talks proceed, the union’s goals include increasing job security, securing members’ pensions, and health and welfare benefits, and creating more Teamster freight jobs.

"Our members have done a great job giving us input through the contract surveys and local union meetings," Johnson said. "We wouldn’t be this far along without our members’ help, and we will be calling for their help and support throughout the negotiations. Together, we will negotiate supplements and a national contract that will give our members and their families a brighter future."

UPS Freight Launches Reliability Guarantee

Starting with the new year, UPS Freight will back its on-time performance reliability with the same type of service guarantee that long has been enjoyed by UPS’s small package customers.

“We have so much confidence that our enhancements and investments have transformed the customer experience that we will guarantee our on-time delivery performance at no additional cost,” said Jack Holmes, president, UPS Freight. “It’s the next logical step in making UPS Freight the best in the business.”

The on-time service promise will be available Jan. 2 to less-than-truckload (LTL) customers who ship using the current UPS Freight 560 tariff in the continental United States. This new guarantee promises that customers can request a waiver of their freight charges if their shipment doesn’t arrive on time.

Since acquiring the former Overnite Transportation Co. in 2005, UPS has enhanced UPS Freight’s service portfolio and reliability, optimized its delivery network and invested significantly in assets, people and technology. As a result, the LTL and truckload carrier (TL) is aligned with the global operations and performance standards of UPS’s small package and supply chain services.

Beyond achieving new levels of performance, UPS Freight has been aggressive in adapting technology to simplify the needs of LTL users. For example, UPS:

* Equipped freight drivers with real-time visibility enabling technology so customers can follow their shipments from origin to destination
* Implemented a Dispatch Reservation System that improves service center visibility of orders and drivers, ensuring improved on-time pickups and deliveries
* Invested in new trailers equipped with extensive decking systems and load bars to minimize the risk of damage
* Applied its Web-based tracking and proactive notification technology, Quantum View, to freight shipping so customers can more accurately plan for inbound and outbound shipments
* Extended its billing data and analysis tools, called UPS Billing Solutions, to freight customers so they have the full picture of their transportation spending with just a few clicks of a mouse

New in 2008 will be enhancements to UPS WorldShip and UPS Internet Freight Shipping that address the specific needs of freight shippers. UPS WorldShip is a software suite that integrates customers’ existing databases, eliminating the time-consuming task of re-entering names and addresses, while providing access to all the functions of including delivery verification and tracking.

In 2008, in addition to being able to create a Bill of Lading (BOL) for LTL shipments, UPS WorldShip users will be able to send e-mail notifications, save BOLs for later completion, import commodities and view their negotiated rates. UPS also will make it easier for non-technical staff to integrate their business systems with WorldShip through a new ‘wizard’ feature that guides customers through the integration process using step-by-step instructions.

UPS Internet Freight Shipping, meantime, is designed for use by large numbers of distributed users and includes the most popular features of shipping software including storage of an address book, tracking directly from shipping history, professional label printing and customization of shipping preferences.

“Our customers are thrilled to tap into Web-based visibility, processing and billing technologies that historically just weren’t available for shipping freight. Now, with the addition of a new guarantee on our standard LTL service, we’re bringing the powerful combination of reliability, technology and convenience to the freight shipper,” added John Fain, UPS Freight senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing.

According to the American Trucking Associations, UPS Freight now is the nation’s fourth-largest LTL carrier. UPS Freight offers a full range of regional, interregional and long-haul LTL and TL capabilities in all 50 states, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam along with comprehensive cross-border service in Canada and Mexico.

'Bring It Home' Campaign to Culminate With Arrival of Marshals Artifacts

ABF Freight is transporting artifacts bound for the planned U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The shipment is scheduled to arrive at noon for a riverside ceremony on the future site of the museum.

The U.S. Marshals Service selected Fort Smith as the host city for the agency's new museum in January after receiving recommendations from a 10-person museum committee that had been studying the issue for the past two years. The city's campaign to secure the museum used the slogan, "Bring It Home."

When the selection committee visited Fort Smith, ABF pledged to donate its transportation services to relocate the artifacts to Fort Smith. "We asked the selection committee to let ABF 'bring it home' where it belongs," said ABF President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Davidson, a member of the Marshals Museum Board. "ABF is proud to be actively involved in the many communities we serve through our corporate efforts as well as the individual involvement of our 13,000 employees."

The Marshals Museum will be constructed in Fort Smith at North B Street and Clayton Expressway on property donated by the Robbie Westphal Family. Fort Smith also is home to the Fort Smith National Historic Site featuring the courtroom and gallows of Federal Judge Isaac C. Parker. Dispensing justice for western Arkansas and what is now Oklahoma from 1875 to 1896, Parker became known as the "Hanging Judge" for the stern justice he handed out to those who came before his court. Typically, the accused were brought there by the U.S. marshals and deputy marshals.

"Efforts by the Fort Smith community and the State of Arkansas to establish the U.S. Marshals Museum will move closer to fruition today when those ABF trailers cross the bridge into downtown Fort Smith," says Dr. Sandi Sanders, Marshals Museum project director. "A marching band, cheerleaders, and a host of dignitaries, including the Fort Smith mayor, members of the United States Marshal Service, and members of the Marshals Museum Board of Directors, will greet the trucks as they complete the journey from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Fort Smith."

Sanders says artifacts for the planned U.S. Marshals Museum will be stored by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism until the building is complete. "The museum will provide an interactive experience for visitors utilizing historical artifacts, various types of technology and special exhibits to honor America's oldest federal law enforcement agency. The museum also will serve as an educational center and memorialize the Marshals Service's past, present, and future law enforcement roles," says Sanders

Provision cutting cross-border trucking is kept

A congressional committee preserved a legislative provision yesterday that would cut off funding for a federal pilot project allowing long-haul trucking across the U.S.-Mexico border.

The provision was retained in a $105.6 billion transportation spending bill approved by a House-Senate conference committee. That bill includes $50.9 billion in discretionary spending.

Opponents of the cross-border trucking program, who hailed the committee's action, see the provision as their best hope to end the two-month-old experiment. They contend that the program lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure that Mexican trucks meet the same standards as American trucks, a charge that U.S. transportation officials deny.

Rod Nofziger, director of government affairs for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said the group was confident that Congress would pass a transportation bill that would shut down the program.

The Teamsters union, another opponent of the program, also expressed satisfaction with the committee's action.

U.S. transportation officials were disappointed with the bill.

“It's sad news for U.S. truck drivers and U.S. consumers,” agency spokesman Brian Turmail said after the committee retained the provision to end the pilot project.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters has been lobbying lawmakers to support the program, which she insists is safe. She has said opening the border to commercial truck traffic will benefit the economies and consumers in both countries.

The agency announced this week that it awarded a contract to San Diego-based Qualcomm to install a satellite-based tracking system in participating trucks to monitor their compliance with U.S. regulations.

The conference bill is expected to win passage in the House and Senate, but it faces a veto threat from President Bush, who objects because its cost exceeds his request by several billion dollars. If it were vetoed, Congress could either override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote or send the president another bill.

One congressional aide said the legislation could be voted on by the House as early as next week and later by the Senate.

Bush favors the cross-border trucking program, which was conceived to determine if it's safe to open the southern border to unrestricted commercial truck traffic as required by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Teamsters Denounce House Vote on Peru Trade Bill

Hoffa Encouraged That Most Democrats Opposed the Bill

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today said the U.S. House of Representatives let down American workers by passing the Peru Free Trade Agreement.

However, a majority of voting Democrats opposed the bill.

“Just as I expected, the powerful opposition within the majority party makes clear that this deal was not a good deal for workers and should never have been put forward,” Hoffa said.

The agreement undermines U.S. sovereignty, encourages offshoring of American jobs and does nothing to protect workers, consumers or the environment in either country.

“I’ve watched families destroyed and communities devastated as American businesses pack up and move away because of these agreements,” Hoffa said. “We’re supposed to believe that they’re good for our economy? I don’t think so.”

“Trade agreements like this have been in place in Latin America for years and they’ve done nothing to improve living conditions,” Hoffa said. “There are millions of workers in Mexico who are far worse off because of NAFTA. This is just more of the same.”

“American workers deserve more from their political leaders than one disastrous trade agreement after another,” Hoffa said. “It makes absolutely no sense for Congress to pass another trade bill when the dollar is in free fall because of the trade deficits we’re piling up.”

“I hope that the Democratic leadership tells the Bush Administration that Congress will now focus on job creating trade policies and no more of these job-killing free trade agreements,” he said.

Candidates must answer to workers

Presidential contenders need solid positions on trade, pay and unions

As Thanksgiving approaches each year, I list things for which I am grateful. Spending time with family and friends tops the list, along with good health, warmth and a tasty meal. I'm far from unique -- this time of year many of us recognize things that are important.

In another part of my life, there's one more thing I'm thankful for: knowing that we have the chance to vote for a new president in 2008. We have the chance to select a president who realizes the widening economic chasm between our rich and poor citizens, and who grasps the impact of unfair trade agreements.

In short, we can vote for a president who stands up for American workers. In Michigan and across the country, we can't weather another four years of President Bush-style priorities, boosting the wealthy at the expense of workers and their families.

As presidential debates continue -- the first primaries are early next year -- we need to learn exactly how our next president will ensure workers won't be sold short again.

How will workers have the ability to earn fair pay and benefits for themselves and their families?

According to a Wall Street Journal story from last month, the amount the top earners hauled in stretched to a postwar record. "The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans earned 21.2 percent of all income in 2005. . . . sharply up from 19 percent in 2004," the Journal reported. Meanwhile, the same story notes that from 2000 to 2005, the median income actually fell 2 percent. Full Article.......

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

DHL National Negotiations News

Tentative Agreement Reached on National Non-Economic Language; Regional Bargaining Begins in November

After nearly a month of negotiations, the Teamsters national negotiating committee secured tentative agreements with DHL representatives on October 28. The agreements address various non-economic provisions for the DHL National Master Agreement and operational supplements.

“Hammering out non-economic language is the first step of negotiating a contract,” said Brad Slawson, chair of the Teamsters national negotiating committee. “We believe that we’ve got language that enhances job security. While we made progress there is still a long way to go.”

During the often-contentious negotiations, the committee reached tentative agreement with DHL on the non-economic national portion of the agreement as well as the non-economic language for each of the four major national operating supplements: pick-up and delivery, clerical, gateway, and hub operations.

The tentative national language for the pick-up-and-delivery and clerical agreements largely reflect the relevant Articles (1-39) of the National Master Freight Agreement. The existing contracts covering gateways and hubs were used as the template for those operational supplements.

Economic Negotiations to Follow Agreements on Regional Supplements

The next step in negotiations concerns regional supplements and riders, which govern much of the day-to-day operations. Local union leaders and DHL will begin negotiating these supplements in November.

If negotiations are concluded by the end of November, the national committee anticipates that it and DHL representatives will convene again in December to discuss economic portions—wages, health insurance and pensions—of the DHL National Master Agreement.

The new DHL National Master Agreement will cover all local unions covered under the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) and a number of locals that previously negotiated stand-alone “white paper” agreements.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Biggest U.S. trucker battling economy's headwinds

Keith Graham says times are not good, but they have been worse.

"I was down to two deliveries a week at (auto supplier) Pullman Industries in South Haven," said the truck driver at USF Holland, a unit of America's largest trucking company YRC Worldwide Inc. "Recently, they went back up to four deliveries a week, which is good news."

"When it comes to the auto industry, Michigan could do with a whole lot more good news like that, " Graham, 47, said.

Those extra deliveries were related to new product lines for General Motors Corp, officials said.

But if good news like new product lines at a U.S. automaker is rare these days -- the industry has been decimated by shrinking market share for Detroit-based automakers GM, Ford Motor Co (F.N) and Chrysler LLC -- the same can be said for YRC and USF, which YRC bought in 2005. Full story.............

FedEx pays $253K to settle dispute

Agreement paves way for union election

FedEx Home Delivery and the National Labor Relations Board have reached an agreement awarding more than $253,000 to five present and former workers, a settlement which also clears the way for a union election in February.

Four former workers and one current employee for FedEx Home Delivery’s operations on Lyman Street received compensation as a result of a settlement over complaints the company harassed and fired workers active in a union organizing effort with the Teamsters.

The settlement checks awarded to the drivers ranged from $16,809 to the sole employee still working for FedEx Home Delivery, to $73,197 paid to one of the four who were fired and have declined reinstatement, according to the Oct. 25 settlement. The case was slated to go to trial yesterday.

There were no findings of unfair labor practices and the workers will hold an election Feb. 1 to see if the Teamsters will be the drivers’ collective bargaining unit.

“It’s an important ruling,” said Michael P. Hogan, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 170 in Worcester. “It’s a step in the right direction for these workers. Certainly, we thought a settlement would be reached.”

In bringing the April complaint, the NLRB determined the drivers are company employees, rather than independent contractors as the company has asserted, and are eligible to unionize.

Mr. Hogan said 95 percent of the drivers signed union cards in November 2005. A vote to determine if the Teamsters would be the drivers’ collective bargaining unit, set for February 2006, was postponed after the company began harassing workers, including using some drivers to make an anti-union video, he said.

Former driver Robert V. Williams of Berlin, who was awarded $40,000, said he was pleased with the settlement. He said he had been terminated by FedEx after testifying at an NLRB hearing held in 2006 to determine if the workers were company employees or independent contractors.

He said he is not interested in returning to work for FedEx Home Delivery.

“This backs our original contention that we have the right to have an election,” he said. “The people terminated were made whole. FedEx hasn’t won any of these cases around the country.”

Perry Colosimo, spokesman for FedEx, emphasized there was no finding in the settlement that FedEx engaged in any unfair labor practices at the Northboro facility.

“This matter has been pending for nearly two years and this settlement allows all parties to move forward,” he said in a statement. “We are committed to working with contractors to continue to grow our thriving home delivery business, and to ensure all contractors have the opportunity to succeed — without the interference of a third party. FedEx Ground looks forward to the election on Feb. 1.”

Mr. Hogan said a key finding by the NLRB was that the workers were employees of the company rather than independent contractors.

“If they were not employees, and were independent contractors, the company could do whatever it wants,” he said. “FedEx could terminate them at any time. When these drivers were found to be employees, and then the company appealed, they started to wage this anti-union war against them. Then, when they found they were not making any headway, fired them.”

Gov. Bill Richardson's Address to the Teamsters

Sen. Hillary Clinton's Address to the Teamsters

Sen. Chris Dodd's Address to the Teamsters

Sen. Joe Biden's Address to the Teamsters

Sen. Obama's Address to the Teamsters

Saturday, October 27, 2007

YRC sees no ease in trucking slump

Parent of Akron's Roadway says its regional unit hurt by weaker Midwest economy

YRC Worldwide Inc., parent of Roadway in Akron, sees no sign that a yearlong slump in U.S. trucking will ease, said Bill Zollars, chief executive of the largest U.S. trucker.

''Last year, the economy started to weaken at the beginning of October,'' Zollars said in a conference call. YRC, of Overland Park, Kan., expected conditions to improve by now and they haven't, he said. ''That has us concerned.''

The outlook could make it tougher for YRC to stem four straight quarters of falling sales and net income that have contributed to a 28 percent drop in shares this year. YRC posted a 58 percent decline in third-quarter profit in its financial report released Thursday.

The results were dragged down by its regional trucking division, which was hurt by a weakening economy in the Midwest, Zollars said.

Clients are being pinched, too. The trucker will reprice contracts for some ''unprofitable customers'' at its USF Holland and Reddaway divisions in the Midwest, Zollars said.

YRC rose $1.30, or 5 percent, to $27.26 in trading Friday. Earnings were released after Thursday's trading. YRC's regional division, its second-largest, ''will likely get worse before it improves,'' said Edward Wolfe, a Bear Stearns & Co. analyst who is based in New York and rates YRC ''underperform.''

Wolfe said YRC regional's main business where each truck carries goods from more than one customer, known as less-than-truckload, will likely remain weak and make change ''difficult'' at the company's Midwestern divisions.

YRC and other large U.S. trucking companies have seen freight demand decline as a housing slump has reduced shipments of construction materials and home furnishings. Con-way Inc., J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and Landstar System Inc. all posted declines in third-quarter profit.

Zollars said the regional trucking unit ''performed well below expectations.''