WASHINGTON — The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is getting ready to “fight like hell” in upcoming national negotiations on new collective bargaining agreements with TForce Freight and ABF Freight. The outcome will affect more than 15,000 Teamsters who drive for the companies.
The current ABF agreement expires June 30, and the TForce agreement expires July 31.
“Our freight members are one of the Teamsters’ biggest priorities, and we are ready to fight like hell at the table to get the very best contracts at TForce and ABF,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “The day our administration took office was the day concessions to the freight industry ended. We’re eager to get to work on negotiating contracts that raise standards and rebuild this industry for workers.”
TForce Freight is a subsidiary of Canadian-based TFI international which purchased UPS Freight for approximately $800 million.
The sale caught the Teamsters by surprise, leaving many concerned for their future. Pensions earned so far are protected by law and the current contract. TForce Freight is responsible for making contributions for the life of the contract. Teamsters are concerned because future accruals and benefits will be on the table during the negotiations, with the possibility they could be frozen or reduced.
Another concern for the Teamsters is the company’s national base wage and national wage increases. Teamsters said they are concerned about CEO Alain Bedard’s comments about regionalizing wage rates, turning away from the current regional model.
“If you compare the base salary versus the other two unionized carriers TForce has the most expensive salary,” Bedard said. “But, what I see though, is that in some markets our base salaries are too low and other markets they are too high. This is because it’s a kind of national grid that we have that done because the last negotiation was done mostly by UPS people.”
Bédard noted on Feb. 6 that TFI International is also interested in operational combinations with the U.S.-based less-than-truckload carrier ArcBest Corp, which owns ABF.
The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee met in Washington, D.C., yesterday to review the union’s proposals for upcoming contract negotiations with TForce Freight.
“We are ready, we are militant, and we will win strong national contracts for Teamster members at TForce and ABF this year,” said Teamsters Freight Division Director John A. Murphy. “Our negotiating team isn’t going to back down. We have a plan and a vision focused entirely on getting our freight members what they deserve.”
O’Brien and Murphy will chair national negotiations. The negotiating committees will be made up of leaders from around the country as well as rank-and-file members.
The Teamsters Freight Division also will enter national negotiations with YRC Freight in 2024.
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