Friday, January 12, 2007

Trucking company to close Airpark headquarters

SCOTTSDALE - The Scottsdale Airpark headquarters of trucking company USF Bestway Inc. will close by the end of the year and lay off most of its 75 employees, company officials said Tuesday.

USF Bestway's parent company, YRC Worldwide Inc., announced that it would consolidate the Scottsdale-based division with its USF Reddaway division based in Clackamas, Ore.

The move will streamline the organization and give customers more service options, YRC said.

T.J. O'Connor, president and chief executive officer of the Scottsdale division, said Tuesday that some of the Scottsdale employees will be offered positions in Oregon as functions are transferred there throughout the year. He said it would be difficult to say how many would be offered positions, but added that the majority would not.

Functions at the Scottsdale office include customer service, finance, accounting and marketing.

O'Connor was named president and chief executive officer of the combined division. It will cover 18 states in the West and Southwest, along with Alberta and British Columbia, Canada.

USF Bestway last month sold the office, which has been in the Perimeter Center since 1999, to Cachet Homes for $12.2 million. O'Connor said the deal was unrelated to the consolidation, and USF Bestway is leasing the space from Cachet.

YRC Worldwide, based in Overland Park, Kan., is a trucking and transportation company whose best-known brands are Yellow Transportation and Roadway. It acquired Chicago-based USF Inc. in 2005 and has been restructuring since then.

Teamsters Back New Rules to Track Hours-of-Service Violations

Electronic On-Board Recording Devices Valuable Asset When Used Responsibly

The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration proposed new rules for the use of electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) in commercial vehicles to track and regulate hours of service and prevent violations by truck and bus companies.

While the proposed rule will not require carriers to utilize EORBs, it would offer incentives to companies to adopt the technology voluntarily.

“When used for its designed purpose, on-board recorders can be a valuable tool to prevent companies from pushing their drivers past advisable hours of service,” said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “However, our union will continue to negotiate language in future contracts that prevent the abuse of the data collected by EORBs.”

The Teamsters National Master Freight Agreement currently includes language that prevents carriers from using any data gathered from an electronic tracking system as grounds for disciplinary actions.

“Our members are the best-trained and safest drivers on the road,” Johnson said. “If this rule helps to stop hours-of-service violations and improve safety on our highways, we all will benefit from its implementation.”

Congress should empower workers

Reform labor laws so employees can form unions without interference

As we admire the latest automotive innovations at the North American International Auto Show, we should also remember the incredible history of the auto industry.

Millions of middle-class Americans have assembled and delivered General Motors, Ford and Chrysler products, providing convenience and enjoyment. Perhaps more important, the solid wages and benefits the workers earned for their families have helped them raise generations of our fellow citizens.

While the American auto industry is enduring problems, I can think of another group that was in even more disarray -- the last Congress. After being mired in corruption and blind support of the president's questionable policies, the American people voted in a new crop of representatives and senators.

Labor reform helps workers

The Democratic majorities in the House and Senate now have an extraordinary opportunity to improve the lives of working families. A major piece of legislation that empowers working families is the Employee Free Choice Act. Introduced with bipartisan support, this is the first major attempt to reform labor law since the 1970s.

The idea behind the law is simple. Most any American can join a group -- a church group, the parent teacher association at their child's school or the National Rifle Association -- by signing a card and paying dues. With the proposed reform, if a majority at a workplace wants to build a union, they sign cards and the employer recognizes their wishes. Negotiations for a labor contract begin soon after.

This is a major improvement over our current labor laws, in which the process is unnecessarily difficult for workers because employers have more ability to aggressively thwart unionization efforts. Often, after a majority indicates their interest, they endure a nasty, bruising and lawyer-dominated election, as the employer fights to block its employees' choice to form a union.

The University of Illinois at Chicago's Center for Urban Economic Development released a study in December 2005 that found shocking amounts of employer resistance during union organizing drives.

The researchers found that 30 percent of employers fire pro-union workers; 49 percent of employers threaten to close a work site when workers try to unionize; 82 percent of employers hire union-busting consultants to fight organizing drives; and 91 percent of employers force employees to attend anti-union meetings one-on-one with supervisors.

Anti-American tactics

Not only is a process that allows such intimidation outrageous, it's anti-American. According to Jefferson Cowie, associate professor of history at Cornell University, three-quarters of Americans say employers should be neutral in union elections. More than 50 million Americans are interested in joining a union, but lack fair mechanisms to do so.

The beauty of the Employee Free Choice Act is it enables workers to build a union if they desire one. The legislation would ensure that employers respect workers and bargain fairly, providing mediation and arbitration of first-contract disputes and authorizing strong penalties for any violations of the law.

Some employers have managed to manipulate our labor laws. A good example can be traced from UPS Freight, a subsidiary of the shipping giant UPS. Before being purchased in 2005 by UPS, the company was known as Overnite Transportation Co.

By the late 1990s, 4,000 drivers at Overnite had gone through the standard election process and voted to become Teamsters. But when we sought to negotiate a contract, the company's strategy was simple -- spend millions of dollars to stall, delay, demoralize and defeat the workers' desire for union representation.

Overnite harassed, threatened and fired workers without cause. Although Overnite would become one of the largest violators of U.S. labor laws in history, it successfully manipulated those laws to achieve its ends of having no unionized employees and no contracts ensuring its workers' wages and job security.

Now under new ownership, the Teamsters reached an agreement that enables workers at UPS Freight to build their union. In August, a majority of workers at UPS Freight's facility in Indianapolis signed a majority of cards. They are negotiating their first contract.

It's a stunning reversal, and one that the Employee Free Choice Act would foster at other companies.

Good-paying jobs with affordable health care and a secure retirement are pillars of the American labor movement. These jobs should be a right, not a privilege, for all Americans. We will work tirelessly to ensure that all workers -- those involved with the auto industry and otherwise -- are the focus of the new Congress

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Teamsters Plan Broad Trucking Policy Effort

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters plans to push Congress to address an array of trucking-related issues this year and will encourage its own members to run for political office in the next election cycle.

"We're actively looking for Teamster members to run for office because we feel too many in Congress have never driven a truck or worked on a loading dock," said Mike Mathis, director of government affairs for the union during a special policy conference held at the union's headquarters in Washington D.C.

"We're also going to focusing more of our resources on key state governors, state legislatures and local elections due to all the rancor and gridlock here in the nation's capitol," he added.

One of the Teamster's major priorities this year is to block a DOT effort to institute a pilot program that would allow 100 Mexican carriers to operate on U.S. roads, said Fred McLuckie, deputy director of legislative affairs for the union.

"There are just too many unresolved issues with Mexican carriers, Mexican trucks and drivers who have not met all safety requirements, especially hours-of-service, drug and alcohol, and hazmat background checks," McLuskie stated. "Security is also an issue. We've heard the Transportation Security Administration wants to conduct background checks on Mexican drivers hauling hazmat loads only using U.S. criminal databases as Mexican criminal databases are unreliable. We think that's a problem."

"We can't have national security jeopardized by not requiring Mexican drivers to follow the same safety and security regime as U.S. and Canadian drivers do," he told FleetOwner. "That's been our position from the start."

Other trucking issues the union wants to address include: Keeping in place new rules passed as part of last year's highway funding bill that allow drivers of vehicles 10,000 lb. or less to be paid overtime Limiting disqualifying offenses for hazmat drivers, giving them rights for appeal and limiting look-back periods for criminal background checks Relief for Teamsters who face suspension or revocation of their CDLs by incurring certain traffic offenses while driving personal ve of U.S. highway infrastructure.

"Foreign ownership of U.S. highway infrastructure sets a bad precedent," McLuckie noted. "State governments are selling roads built and paid for with taxpayer funds to foreign companies for a temporary economic gain... [but] we don't know what will happen down the road. It could subject taxpayers to higher tolls and lower toll-booth worker wages."

Teamsters Election Certified, America's Strongest Union Slate Prevails

Hoffa Slate Wins Election With More Than 64 Percent of Vote

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Election Supervisor Richard W. Mark announced today the completion of the certification process for the 2006 Election of International Union Officers, confirming the re-election of James P. Hoffa and the America's Strongest Union Slate.

"I am truly humbled by the support I received from the members of this union," said Hoffa who now enters his third term as Teamsters Union General President. "I will continue representing each and every rank-and-file member of this union to the best of my ability with an unwavering commitment to the labor movement."

In addition, all members of Hoffa's Teamsters-America's Strongest Union Slate won five-year terms as officers on the union's General Executive Board. Hoffa and his slate have pledged to continue the progress the Teamsters have made in national bargaining, organizing and political action.

During the next five years, the union will negotiate all of its national contracts, including UPS, National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) and Carhaul. UPS negotiations are currently underway and the NMFA and Carhaul contracts expire in 2008.

Hoffa took office in December 1998 and won re-election in 2001. The most recognized leader in the labor movement, Hoffa has reformed and rebuilt the Teamsters Union. He also is a key founder of the Change to Win federation, which was formed in 2005 after the Teamsters and other unions broke from the AFL-CIO to focus resources on organizing.

"This union has done great things for working families, and we've got more work to do," Hoffa said. "With the recent shift of power in Congress the stage is set for a resurgence of worker strength in the United States. We will not squander this opportunity."

Slow Demand Leaves Truckers With Case Of Post-Holiday Blues

The U.S. trucking industry went puttering into '07 in need of a tune- up and new spark plugs.

Sluggish demand during the holidays — when business is supposed to pick up — hurt shipments and rates. The slump caused some transportation firms to cut views, including air freighter FedEx (FDX) and logistics services provider Landstar. (LSTR)

A sharp drop in oil prices last week helped lift beleaguered shipping firms, but the Transportation-Truck group is still ranked 196 out of IBD's 197 industry groups.

U.S. trucking shipments fell nearly 9% in November, says the American Trucking Associations. It was the biggest yearly decline in almost six years and followed a 4% drop in October.

Trucking In A Rut

Late-year stock declines were reported by FedEx and Landstar as well as J.B. Hunt Transportation Services, YRC Worldwide, (YRCW) Knight Transportation, (KNX) Heartland Express (HTLD) and just about anyone else who earns a living on 18 wheels.

Three of those firms — Landstar, J.B. Hunt and YRC — are expected to report lower fourth-quarter profits. FedEx is expected to report an earnings drop for its current fiscal quarter, which ends in February. Heartland should report flat fourth-quarter profit, while Knight eyes a 14% increase. More........

YRC Regional Transportation Announces Operational and Management Consolidations

USF Reddaway and USF Bestway Consolidate; USF Holland Expands Coverage

YRC Regional Transportation, a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc. , announced today the consolidation of USF Bestway and USF Reddaway and the geographic expansion of USF Holland. Although the transition begins immediately, customers will experience no initial changes to their service. Over time, these operational changes are intended to benefit customers through improved services and scope of coverage. To assure a smooth transition, the companies will communicate specifics to customers as they implement these enhancements. Highlights of the forthcoming changes are as follows:

-- USF Bestway and USF Reddaway will consolidate into one organization
operating under the USF Reddaway brand.

-- USF Reddaway, a recognized leader in regional delivery, quality
handling and on time performance will provide direct service to a
larger geographic area that includes Alaska, Colorado, Idaho,
Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington, as well as Alberta and
British Columbia, Canada, with new direct service capabilities in
Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas and expanded
capacity in California and Nevada.

-- Customers of both companies will be able to benefit from more
regional delivery options and a simpler, more streamlined customer
service experience.

-- T.J. O'Connor has been named President and CEO of USF Reddaway and
will lead its management team based in Clackamas, Oregon. O'Connor
had been serving as President and CEO of USF Bestway for the past
year. Previously, he spent 23 years serving in a variety of
executive positions at Roadway Express. Ed Fitzgerald, who has led
USF Reddaway since 2004, will be leaving to pursue other interests.

-- USF Holland will expand its service coverage in Arkansas, Kansas and

-- USF Holland will provide full-state coverage in Kansas and will
further expand its coverage in Arkansas and Mississippi. In doing
so, USF Holland will acquire three USF Bestway service facilities
in these markets -- Little Rock, AR; Wichita, KS; and Jackson, MS.

-- The expansion will provide customers in these three states with
enhanced regional services to the southeastern and central United
States. Existing USF Holland customers benefit from more regional
delivery options into the Midwest and South.

-- New Penn and USF Glen Moore, the other two YRC Regional Transportation
companies, are not directly impacted by these changes.

"The consolidation of the USF Bestway and USF Reddaway brands creates a more streamlined organization, a stronger regional network and a very formidable western service provider," said Jim Staley, President and CEO of YRC Regional Transportation. That translates into more service options for our customers and a simpler customer service experience. Additionally, the expansion of USF Holland deeper into the Midwest and the South provides our customers access to one of the most reliable and extensive next-day and regional delivery networks in the industry."
"The YRC Regional Transportation group now has four strong companies with substantial brand equity," commented Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and CEO of YRC Worldwide. "The expansion of USF Holland and USF Reddaway into these new regional markets will enhance growth prospects for the corporation and add to shareholder value."