The Teamsters union has mailed ballots to authorize a strike against ABF Freight System by its employees covered under the Central Region Local Cartage supplement. The comapny said it was notified of the mailing on Oct. 8.
The supplement is one of 27 to the ABF National Master Freight Agreement. After “many months” of negotiations between the two parties, a five-year contract deal was reached and ratified in June by the majority of ABF Teamster employees, according to ABF, No. 6 on JOC’s ranking of the Top 25 Less-Than-Truckload Carriers. Since then, 25 of 27 supplemental agreements have also been ratified. The two that remain are Western Office Part 5 and Central Region Local Cartage.
For Central Region Local Cartage employees, ABF has provided its “last, best and final offer,” the LTL company said. The Teamsters constitution provides a process in which its national negotiating committee conducts a strike authorization vote in the affected supplemental area only in order to establish whether the committee has the authority to conduct a strike.
ABF is encouraging employees covered by the Central Region Local Cartage supplement to vote “no” to the strike authorization and to “let their voices be heard by making sure they exercise their right to cast a ballot,” according to the company. ABF also said it is aware that the Teamsters have also encouraged its Central Region Local Cartage members to vote “no” to a strike in a letter they mailed to employees.
If a strike is nonetheless authorized by employees in Central Region Local Cartage and directed by the committee, there can be no strike before Oct. 29, which is the end of the expiration of the current contract extension, ABF said. ABF noted that it is preparing for this outcome.
Meanwhile, the company said concerns in the Western Office area “have been addressed,” and it is “hopeful” that ratification will occur in the short term following “minor, non-economic” modifications to that supplement.