NORTH PENN SAYS UNION TO BLAME FOR ITS DEMISE

NORTH PENN SAYS UNION TO BLAME FOR ITS DEMISE

North Penn Transfer Inc. is blaming the Teamsters union for its demise.

The less-than-truckload carrier, based in Lansdale, Pa., closed its doors for the last time last Friday after 42 years in business when union officials declined to let the 300 Teamsters employed by North Penn vote on concessions sought by the company, said Sam Woffindin, North Penn's director of human resources."An unofficial sampling of employees indicated support, but they never had a chance to vote," Mr. Woffindin charged in a telephone interview Tuesday.

Teamster officials could not be reached for comment.

North Penn filed for bankruptcy court protection on Feb. 10 but had obtained commitments for financing to keep operating had the union agreed to the concessions, Mr. Woffindin said.

The concessions sought by the company, now being liquidated, reportedly would have cut wages and benefits by 23 percent.

The National Master Freight Agreement used by all Teamsters locals throughout the country prevents concessions from exceeding 15 percent.

North Penn was forced to file for Chapter 11 because of its "poor cash position," Mr. Woffindin said. "The recession contributed mightily to that. Our revenues dropped off."

Freight that was booked with North Penn is being handled by other trucking concerns, he said.

The family-owned company, founded in 1946, had a total of 550 employees and 11 terminals throughout the Northeast. The largest terminal was in Lansdale, a Philadelphia suburb.

The others were located in Easton, Lancaster and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Elizabeth and Vincenttown, N.J.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Baltimore; West Springfield, Mass.; Cumberland, R.I.; and Orange, Conn.

North Penn listed assets of $14.9 million and liabilities of $21.3 million in its bankruptcy petition. Mr. Woffindin declined to identify the banks that would have provided the financing if the Teamsters had accepted the concessions.