Saturday, January 08, 2011

Obama Flip Flops and Reconsiders Mexican Trucking Pilot Program

I remember when the Teamsters (and just about every other union in the United States) hit the streets to organize for Obama. We were phone banking, knocking on doors, talking to everyone we could. I ended up going to labor council meetings, large locals and even a Labor Day Parade to endlessly preach the need for Obama; that Obama was what Labor needed.

Though I personally believe we need a third party in the United States, I rallied behind Obama. I rallied for Obama because he made promises, among many others, to kill a Mexican trucking program that was born out of NAFTA. It appears now that the Obama forgot that Labor worked day and night for him because he is now ready to get that pilot program up and running again. Read the full story at Union Review....

Friday, January 07, 2011


Plan Threatens Jobs, Highway Safety And Border Security

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today questioned why the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a new cross-border trucking program at a time of persistent high U.S. unemployment, budget deficits and unrelenting drug violence in Mexico. He said the proposed program would threaten the traveling public in the U.S. and open our southern border to increased drug trafficking.

The Obama administration closed the border to unsafe Mexican trucks in February 2009 after Congress shut off funds for the cross-border pilot program. Mexico retaliated with tariffs that the Teamsters Union believes are excessive. The administration should have brought a challenge against Mexico for imposing excessive tariffs on U.S. goods, as the Teamsters Union has urged for nearly two years, instead of a “concept” document that would still open the border to unsafe trucks.

“I am deeply disappointed by this proposal,” Hoffa said. “Why would the DOT propose to threaten U.S. truck drivers’ and warehouse workers’ jobs when unemployment is so high? And why would we do it when drug cartel violence along the border is just getting worse?”

Ciudad Juarez, which is right across the border from El Paso, is now the most dangerous city in the world. The administration’s own Homeland Security Department issued a warning just last month that noted Texas safety officials urged people to stay away from Mexico. “The warning comes as kidnappings, violence between drug cartels, as well as between law enforcement and the cartels, increases,” Homeland Security said.

Hoffa noted that the trade agreement benefits Mexico but not the U.S. “Given the drug violence, there’s no way a U.S. company would want to haul valuable goods into the Mexican interior,” Hoffa said. “Trade agreements are supposed to benefit both parties, but this is a one-way street.

“We continue to have serious reservations about DOT’s ability to guarantee the safety of Mexican trucks. Mexican trucks simply don’t meet the same standards as U.S. trucks – they don’t even have to have anti-lock brakes. Medical and physical standards for Mexican trucking firms are lower than for U.S. companies. And how can Mexico enforce highway safety laws when it can’t even control drug cartels?”

“The Bush-era pilot program was a failure that shouldn’t be repeated,” Hoffa said.

The U.S. government spent $500 million on the pilot program, which began in September 2007. Only about three Mexican trucks per day traveled beyond the border zone since then, according to the Transportation Department’s office of inspector general. The inspector general also reported that “FMCSA does not have assurance that it has checked every Mexican truck and driver … when they cross into the border in the United States.”

“I do appreciate that DOT is proposing to raise the bar on safety for Mexican trucks,” Hoffa said. “But the stricter standards aren’t enough, and they could cost the U.S. taxpayer. For example, the administration proposes that Mexican trucks be checked for U.S. EPA emissions standards and that drug testing take place in U.S. labs.

“Why should American taxpayers pay for Mexican trucking companies to take away American jobs?”

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

YRCW Industry News: Our Take


It may seem like years since there was something to get excited about, but retail sales could be one of the bright spots for 2010.

Our take:

Even if it seems a little incredible to believe, analysts believe that this could be the strongest retail season on record. Customer Growth Partners stated that this year could surpass a record established in 2007 of more than $508 billion in holiday sales. Current trajectory would show that online retail sales were to grow nearly 14 percent for the season while brick-and-mortar sales were up nearly 10 percent. These views are more aggressive than others offered over the last several weeks, and considerably more positive than the actual government figures on retail sales. But the optimism that it gives to the broader economy is likely to be significant. Full Story.....

Monday, January 03, 2011

ABF Global Expansion Reaches Into the Dominican Republic With Door Delivery

Continuing its global expansion, ABF is providing seamless, single-contact door delivery for customers shipping to the Dominican Republic. ABF expanded its Caribbean coverage in response to increased demand for shipping solutions from customers taking advantage of opportunities created by the United States-Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement, known informally as CAFTA. The Dominican Republic also serves as a staging ground for rebuilding efforts in neighboring Haiti.

"As shippers look to ABF for innovative, global supply chain solutions, we will continue to expand our global reach and develop new ways to help customers excel in a global economy," said Roy Slagle, ABF senior vice president of sales and marketing. "Customers appreciate the predictability and reliability ABF brings to their global supply chains by providing a boutique of comprehensive, end-to-end, single-source solutions."

The CAFTA agreement eliminates barriers to trade and investment among its seven signatories: Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the United States. The agreement opens new commercial opportunities for U.S. companies and U.S. operations of foreign companies with these Central American and Caribbean countries. CAFTA also enhances those countries' access to the U.S. markets and establishes common regulatory and environmental standards.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Teamsters Grant Conditional Extension on YRCW Restructuring Plan Timelines

The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee announced today that it has granted YRC Worldwide Inc. a conditional extension until March 15, 2011 on key timelines to achieve elements of its comprehensive restructuring plan. Other key stakeholders at YRCW including the lending group and pension funds, also granted similar extensions. The agreement was reached late on December 31.

"Unfortunately with the economy and the freight industry still struggling and the company's lenders hesitant to make any significant concessions given the financial and legal uncertainties created by ABF's lawsuit, YRCW ran out of time in 2010 to complete any of the significant restructuring elements," said Teamsters National Freight Division Director Tyson Johnson. "We pushed the envelope to keep people working to find a solution but given what transpired since October 30 we thought it in our members' best interests to grant some additional time."

In the restructuring plan that was negotiated in September and ratified by Teamster YRCW members in a national mail ballot referendum on October 30, 2010, the company committed to attracting an equity investment and reducing its debt by December 31, 2010.

"Our 25,000 members at YRCW should know that we extended the timelines only after getting strong commitments from YRCW management to redouble its efforts regarding debt reduction and raising new equity and agreement from the lenders to continue deferring payments during the extension period," Johnson said. "Our number one goal remains to achieve a restructuring at YRCW that creates a viable entity that continues to provide good jobs and benefits and we will continue that efforts into 2011."