Judge Dismisses ABF Suit Against YRC

Judge Dismisses ABF Suit Against YRC

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit ABF Freight System filed against rival trucker YRC Worldwide and the Teamsters aimed at blocking a labor agreement central to YRC’s survival.

U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright ruled after a hearing that ABF did not have jurisdiction to sue over the agreement, which ABF claims is illegal under the common National Master Freight Agreement the union signed with the companies.

ABF said in a statement that it is considering an appeal.

“We are disappointed in this outcome and continue to believe that our Nov. 1 lawsuit is strong. We are reviewing the court’s ruling and considering next steps, including possibly an appeal of the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.”

The less-than-truckload subsidiary of Arkansas Best has claimed the separate concessions agreement with the Teamsters leaves YRC with a sharp cost advantage in the marketplace.

The union rejected a similar cost-saving pact with ABF and the company said in papers released with the suit that the Teamsters sought to have ABF buyout its financially troubled competitor. ABF suggested in the papers the union turned down ABF cost concessions after the company decided not to rescue YRC in a takeover.

The Teamsters applauded the ruling and said ABF should not try to revive the legal claim.

“ABF needs to realize that it cannot circumvent the negotiating and ratification process through the courts,” Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters National Freight Division, said in statement. “We negotiated with ABF in good faith earlier this year, reaching an agreement that was overwhelmingly rejected by its employees. ABF should concentrate on freight pick-up and delivery operations of its company rather than trying to put YRCW out of business through litigation and other means. We are pleased that Judge Wright dismissed this lawsuit because it removes an impediment to YRCW’s restructuring efforts.