Friday, January 26, 2007

Teamsters to Continue Representing Newly Organized USF Bestway Workers

Contract Negotiations Begin February 1

YRC Regional Transportation has announced that it is combining its USF Bestway and USF Reddaway units, but the Teamsters will continue representing the nearly 400 newly organized freight members who worked at USF Bestway.

Contract negotiations, meanwhile, will begin February 1.

“The consolidation will not affect the Teamsters’ representation of the new members,” said Tyson Johnson, Teamsters National Freight Division Director. “The company has announced that it will provide pay raises to its nonunion employees at Reddaway, and we will fight to get the same pay raise and other improvements for our members who will come over from USF Bestway.”

In recent months, Bestway workers in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Modesto and San Leandro, all in California, and workers in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Phoenix, Arizona, voted to join the Teamsters through a card-check agreement won by the union.

With USF Bestway merging with USF Reddaway, USF Reddaway will be about 70 percent union.

“The goal now is to organize the rest of the USF Reddaway workers so that they too have a strong voice on the job,” said Chuck Mack, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 70 in Oakland, California, who is taking part in the upcoming negotiations with USF Reddaway.

In addition to combining USF Bestway and USF Reddaway, the company announced that USF Holland will expand its service coverage in Arkansas, Kansas and Mississippi, and will acquire USF Bestway terminals in Little Rock, Arkansas; Wichita, Kansas; and Jackson, Mississippi.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

UPS Strike Rumors False

January 24, 2007

The following is a statement from Ken Hall, Director of the Teamsters Parcel and Small Package Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National UPS Negotiating Committee:

"It has come to my attention that there are rumors circulating that a Teamsters strike at UPS is imminent. These rumors are false. We are in the process of negotiating the National Master United Parcel Service Agreement that covers more than 200,000 Teamsters at UPS. We have begun negotiations early so that we can address the critical issues facing our members, and we are doing that now. The current contract does not expire until August 1, 2008 and the provisions of that agreement will remain in effect until that time, including the mutual commitment of the parties not to interrupt operations by either a strike or lockout. We are also in the process of negotiating a first contract for 125 workers at UPS Freight-formerly Overnite Transportation-in Indianapolis. The negotiations process is continuing and nothing has occurred that would give the Union reason to consider taking economic action."

UPS Freight Approves Ppg Coatings For Overnite Re-Branding

PPG Commercial Coatings has announced that UPS Freight has approved the Delfleet Evolution paint system from PPG for the re-branding of tractors and trailers obtained through its acquisition of the Overnite Corporation.

UPS acquired the Overnite Corporation, a less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload (TL) carrier in May of 2006. The Overnite facilities and fleet, which includes over 22,000 trailers, is in the process of being rebranded to UPS Freight over the course of several years. The rebranding includes a move to the UPS logo and the re-painting of all tractors and trailers.UPS Freight has selected a color scheme for the tractors that includes a gray color, combined with UPS’s Standard Brown. The trailers will be the UPS Standard Gray, and the wheels and chassis will be painted UPS Freight Black.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for PPG Commercial Coatings,” said Steve Podlas, manager OEM and National Accounts, North America for PPG Commercial Coatings. “We are very excited to be selected to participate in the UPS Freight re-branding process.”

“The Delfleet Evolution paint system is the industry’s most advanced solution for meeting the demanding needs of today’s OEM commercial vehicle manufacturers and fleet maintenance operators,” Podlas continues. “The system offers proven coatings technology in a full range of VOC compliance levels, excellent warranties, and one of the most comprehensive color-matching systems in the industry.”

LTL Carriers Trade Lower

Shares of less-than-truckload carriers traded modestly lower on Wednesday after Arkansas Best Corp. reported sharply lower fourth-quarter earnings.

Shares of Arkansas Best fell 51 cents to $38.10 in afternoon trading. At one point in the session, the stock traded as low as $37.15, or 3.7 percent off its previous close. Shares of YRC Worldwide Inc. gave up 39 cents to $41.81, while shares of Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. lost 12 cents to $26.33. All three names trade on the Nasdaq.

Arkansas Best said on Wednesday before the markets opened that its fourth-quarter profit sank to $14.2 million, or 56 cents per share, from $30.2 million, or $1.18 per share, during the same period in 2005. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast a profit of 90 cents per share.

The Fort Smith, Ark., company cited "a sudden and dramatic reduction in business" in October and November. Analysts have predicted that fourth-quarter results from truckers would show weak demand, as retailers kept inventories tighter than usual during the holidays, automakers trimmed production and the housing slowdown continued.

Arkansas Best also reported higher costs related to the expansion of its next-day service.

Justin Yagerman, an analyst at Wachovia Capital Markets, expected the sector to trade down on the earnings miss, although most investors are aware of the present demand environment. He said Wednesday's weakness could create a buying opportunity and noted that Arkansas Best reported a 4.6 percent increase in the average price of renewed contracts in the period.

"We view this positively, as we believe this may be an indication that customers are increasingly hesitant to undercut their LTL (less-than-truckload) providers on price for fear of future capacity constraints," Yagerman said in a research note.

Yagerman thinks the sector will rebound on an uptick in demand during the second half of 2007.

Edward Wolfe, an analyst at Bear Stearns, expressed less optimism.

"We expect a second foot to drop in pricing throughout 2007," Wolfe said in his commentary on the Arkansas Best miss.

Elsewhere in the less-than-truckload universe, shares of Con-Way Inc. lost 17 cents to $45.67 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Saia Inc. bucked the trend and gained 2 cents to $25.53 on the Nasdaq, as did share of Vitran Corp. Inc., which added 14 cents to $17.23 on the Nasdaq.