Teamsters Local 89 Encourages ABF Members to VOTE NO on Tentative Agreement
Updated On: Apr 20, 2018
Apr 19, 2018 -
On Sunday, April 15th, Local 89 held a contract explanation meeting for our ABF members. At the conclusion of the meeting members were encouraged to VOTE NO on the Tentative Agreement. Here are the highlights (and lowlights) of the contract.
Article 14, Section B – New language was created regarding members who are on prescribed medication. This language strengthens members ability to receive workers compensation when they are on medication that prevents them from driving.
Article 16, Section 5 – Grace period for a loss of DOT license has been extended to 2 years and will have an opportunity to bid on non-driving jobs.
Article 16, Section 6 – Air Conditioning will be added to trailer jockeys/hostling tractors.
Article 34 – This article, pertaining to garnishments on members checks, has been struck completely. This will ensure that members with garnishments will no longer have to fear a potential loss of their job.
One week of earned vacation after a year of service, which was removed in the 2013-2018 agreement, was restored.
Article 7 – ABF will be withdrawing from the Trucking Management Incorporated (TMI) grievance panels and will instead create their own ABF Grievance Committee. Teamsters Local 89 is STRONGLY OPPOSED to this change. TMI is an employer representative group that chairs and seats company grievance panels in an unbiased, neutral process. This process has been in place for decades. If this Tentative Agreement is approved and ABF is allowed to create their own panel system, then the Company side of the table will be nothing but ABF management who will vote lock step with one another. Under this system it is highly likely we will see a decrease in local level management willing to settle cases, and an increase in deadlocked grievances. It also eliminates state panels, meaning deadlocked grievances will go straight from the local level to a Joint Area Committee (JAC) hearing. The loss of the Kentucky state grievance panels will weaken our ability to settle or win grievances at the state level and will put an unnecessary financial burden on our members. JAC hearings are held quarterly in Sarasota Florida and Chicago Illinois, with future locations planned for Cleveland Ohio and Grand Rapids Michigan, all of which would require our members to spend money on in order to travel to their JAC hearings. Taken all together, this language will ultimately damage our members ability to effectively fight and win grievances.
Article 55 (Central Region Local Cartage Supplement) – ABF will be freezing their pension contributions at current rates for the 63 months this contract will be in effect. Teamsters Local 89 is STRONGLY OPPOSED to this change. The Central States Pension Fund had already frozen rates prior to this language, but there are still many unknowns. Should the Federal Government step in and say that increases must be made, or any other number of possibilities, the effects could be catastrophic. We cannot risk the possibility of ABF defaulting in the CSPF, which would force our ABF members into the same boat that YRC has been in. This could be addressed by adding “Maintenance of Benefits” language to the agreement to ensure that members will not lose anything as a result of this freeze. We, as a union, should always be fighting to strengthen and improve all our pension funds, not allow them to be further weakened. This freeze goes beyond Local 89, and even Central States. Every pension plan that ABF participates in across the country is endangered by this language.
In the 2013 contract ABF members gave up 7% of their wages, or 1.72 per hour, to help the Company which was struggling at the time. Following that sacrifice, the Company purchased several smaller companies to strengthen the brand of their parent company, ArcBest. It is time for this money to go back to where it belongs, the hands of ABF members. The Company is boasting about the 2-dollar wage increase over five years they have agreed to, but in reality, this only puts ABF members at .28 cents higher than they were five years ago.
In addition to the wage increases agreed to by the Company, they will also be giving out a one-time 1,000-dollar bonus to members if the contract is ratified. This is an attempt to buy your vote, plain and simple. This bonus, which would amount to around 600 dollars after taxes, amounts to barely 5 cents per hour over the life of this agreement. ABF believes your vote can be purchased for a nickel per hour. A one-time bonus, especially of such a small number, is never a good choice over wage increases that will carry with you as long as you are employed. Even changing their bonus to an actual 5 cents per hour raise would be better, as it would be taxed at a normal rate, and would remain on every check you make for the rest of your time at ABF.
There are good things that have been negotiated in this contract. Unfortunately, they pale in comparison to the bad that will come of it if this Tentative Agreement is ratified, and we are far from the only Local that has taken notice.
New England’s Joint Council 10 issued a series of statements slamming the ABF Tentative Agreement, drawing heavy attention to the fact that the pension freeze agreed to by the IBT will likely result in the Company going into default status with their pension fund, unnecessarily jeopardizing their ABF members. JC10 Principle Officer and International Vice President Sean O’Brien called for the IBT General Executive Board (GEB) to vote to stop the upcoming ABF vote and send the committee back to the negotiating table to prevent this damning pension freeze from being included. Unfortunately, the GEB voted 13 to 9 to move forward with the ABF vote. We applaud the 9 members of the GEB who stood up for members rights, including Sean O’Brien and Local 89’s very own Avral Thompson.
In our great union, an injury to one should always be considered an injury to all, and we should always band together to fight to protect one another from anything that would harm our brothers and sisters, including bad contract language like that included in this ABF deal.
For all the reasons we listed above, Teamsters Local 89 urges our members to VOTE NO on the ABF Tentative Agreement and send the IBT bargaining committee back to the table to get our members, and all our brothers and sisters at ABF, a contract they can be proud of.