Court Rules Against ABF in Contract Suit Against YRC, Teamsters
ABF Freight System unit lost another round in its court action against the Teamsters union and YRC Worldwide over a national freight contract.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Aug. 30 upheld a lower court ruling that dismissed a complaint filed by ABF, in which it alleged that concessions given to YRC by the union violated a national freight contract.
Less-than-truckload carrier ABF Freight System is Arkansas Best Corp.’s largest business unit.
The case began in 2010 when ABF claimed that the 15% pay cut received by YRC’s Teamsters as a result of multiple concession agreements was not allowed under the contract, known as the National Master Freight Agreement. ABF began the suit after the company’s Teamsters rejected a pay cut of the same amount earlier that year.
“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling and the fact that YRC received three rounds of concessions from the [Teamsters] that ABF did not also receive,” ABF said in a statement posted on its website.
“We are assessing the opinion and determining whether to pursue additional options,” the statement said. An ABF official told Transport Topics that court rules allow it until Sept. 13 to make a decision on its next step.
YRC went to the union for concessions for the first time in 2008 as its profits disappeared during the recession. That company’s 2008 and 2009 losses mounted to nearly $2 billion.
ABF noted that a separate contract, initially providing for a 7% wage cut, was negotiated earlier this year. That five-year contract is moving toward the end of the ratification process.
Five of seven supplemental agreements were approved by the Teamsters last month after they were rejected in balloting during June.
Two more supplemental agreements still have not been ratified by union workers. Once those agreements are approved, the contract that runs into 2018 will take effect.
ABF and the Teamsters agreed Aug. 30 to extend their current contract through the end of September, while the remaining agreements are worked out.
“We continue to work with the Teamsters’ leadership to put ABF back onto a path to profitability,” the company statement said.
YRC said in a statement that it agrees with the court’s ruling.
“We anticipated this outcome and are pleased with the court’s decision and supporting opinion,” said Michelle Friel, YRC’s executive vice president, general counsel and secretary.
|By Rip Watson|
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