Teamster union and trucker management negotiators have started work on a new National Master Freight Agreement. The two sides, which have already completed agreements on regional supplemental negotiations, exchanged national contract proposals and began talks last month.
The current agreement between the Teamsters and the unionized less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers, which are represented by the Motor Freight Carriers Association (MFCA), expires at the end of March. The agreement covers more than 65,000 Teamsters. Carriers represented in the talks are ABF Freight System, Roadway Express, USF Holland and Yellow Transportation.
Both sides in the negotiations—and carriers in particular—hope to reach agreement on a new pact well before the contract expires. The concern is that if the two sides don't settle early, shippers will divert freight to non-union carriers as a precaution against any labor disruption. "While both sides have important issues to discuss, we all understand that in today's competitive marketplace it is critical we maintain customer confidence," says Tim Lynch, president and CEO of the MFCA. Late last month, Lynch said of the early rounds of talks, "We have addressed a wide range of issues, and the pace of negotiation remains good." Talks were slated to resume in the first week of January.