The Teamsters union and less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier ABF Freight System will begin contract negotiations today to discuss possible wage and benefit concessions by the approximately 7,000 Teamster members employed at ABF.
In a communiqué posted April 6 on the Teamsters' Web site, the union said it planned to "exchange information" with ABF on April 7 with the intent of beginning contract talks the following day.
In the communiqué, Tyson Johnson, head of the Teamsters' freight division, said members and local leaders "made it clear they support negotiations" with ABF. "Our paramount duty in these negotiations is to protect the jobs and benefits of the 7,000 Teamsters at ABF," Johnson wrote. ABF declined comment.
Last month, the Teamsters said that given the poor health of the LTL industry and ABF's worsening financial and operating condition over the past 15 months, it is in the union's "best long-term interest to fully engage ABF through formal discussions to determine if and what type of contractual relief may be necessary."
ABF for months has been pushing the Teamsters to reopen contract negotiations with the goal of obtaining concessions similar to those the union gave ABF rival YRC Worldwide Inc. ABF executives have said they want wage cuts totaling 15 percent through the four remaining years of the collective-bargaining agreement, as well as an 18-month freeze of pension payments.
The proposed concessions are on a par with those won by YRC, which employs about 35,000 Teamster members.