Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters voted to approve a national master contract with ABF Freight System that cuts wages and gives the less-than-truckload carrier more flexible work rules.
The contract was approved by 52 percent of ABF Teamsters that voted, according to data provided by the Teamsters for a Democratic Union, although the ABF union employees rejected some local and regional supplemental agreements.
The Teamsters negotiating committees responsible for the supplements that were not approved will be holding discussions with members, as the outstanding issues must be addressed before the ABF National Master Freight Agreement can be implemented. In all, members approved 21 of the 27 supplements to the national agreement.
"We are very pleased that our Teamster employees have ratified the ABF NMFA, which is a critical step to putting ABF back on the path to profitability while still preserving the best-paying jobs and benefits in the industry," ABF President and CEO Roy Slagle said in a statement.
“We understand the sacrifices our ABF members are making,” said Gordon Sweeton, co-chairman of the National ABF Negotiating Committee, in a written statement. “We will work on obtaining approval of those supplements that were not approved.” The union plans to schedule further negotiations with ABF.
The contract calls for a 7 percent wage reduction, but the reduction will be entirely recouped by the fifth year of the five-year contract, according to the union.
In late May, leaders of about 160 Teamsters locals had approved the contract with ABF Freight System, which was No. 6 in JOC’s ranking of the Top 25 LTL Carriers for 2012 and No. 11 in the ranking of Top 50 Trucking Companies for the same year.
Separately, Teamsters also approved a national master contract with UPS this week, while members rejected a contract with UPS Freight and some other local contracts, necessitating further negotiation.