A three-judge appellate court panel heard arguments April 12 in an ABF Freight System lawsuit against the Teamsters union and subsidiaries of YRC Worldwide.
It's an unprecedented case pitting two of the largest unionized less-than-truckload carriers against each other as rivals not on the highways but in the courtroom.
The lawsuit challenges wage and pension concession agreements negotiated by the Teamsters and YRC that ABF claims violate a freight industry union contract.
Fort Smith, Ark.-based ABF is seeking $750 million in damages and wants those concession agreements, which saved YRC from bankruptcy, cancelled.
The lawsuit was dismissed in December by a U.S. District Court Judge who ruled ABF didn't have the standing to sue YRC and the Teamsters over labor concessions.
ABF argues those concessions were illegal because its workers are covered by the same multi-employer contract as YRC, the National Master Freight Agreement.
YRC and the Teamsters insist ABF does not belong to the NMFA as it withdrew from the industry bargaining unit in 2008 to negotiate its own parallel contract.
In dismissing the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright on Dec. 16 said ABF failed to prove that it and YRC were covered by the same contract.
That meant ABF had no grounds to sue YRC and the Teamsters over contract concessions projected to save YRC more than $1 billion through 2015.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit agreed to expedite ABF's appeal of the district court decision. A hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.