Strike Unlikely at ABF Freight After Deal With Teamsters

Five-Year Agreement Still Needs Membership Ratification
ABF Freight truck
The proposed contract would cover 8,600 members that work for the carrier, including truck drivers and dock workers. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

The ArcBest Corp. subsidiary ABF Freight System has reached a tentative agreement with the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee, the company announced June 7.

ABF Freight said the proposed five-year deal covers national and supplemental labor contracts. It will provide members with various benefits, including wage increases and improvements to benefits. The specifics of the proposed contract have not been given.

“An employee ratification vote is expected to begin soon, and the new five-year agreement is proposed to become effective after the current contract expires on June 30, 2023,” ArcBest said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. “The company plans to provide additional updates in the coming weeks.”

The proposed contract would cover 8,600 members that work for the carrier, including truck drivers and dock workers. Teamster representatives plan to meet in Chicago to review the tentative agreement before sending it to the membership for the ratification vote.

“At the start of negotiations, we promised to fight like hell for our members at ABF,” said John Murphy, freight division director at the Teamsters. “I can confidently say that we did just that. This tentative agreement is a testament to our hard work, strength and determination at the bargaining table.”


See more transportation stock listings

The two sides reaching a deal before the contract expiration deadline could avert a strike. The Teamsters said in a notice May 24 that members at the carrier voted by 97.7% to authorize a strike. The carrier and union were back at the negotiation table a couple days later.

“It is our hope to reach a tentative agreement in time to have it ratified prior to the expiration of the current agreement and avoid a work stoppage,” Murphy said at the time. “The rank-and-file members at ABF showed their support for their negotiators by recently voting by over 97% in favor of authorizing a strike should it be necessary. Such strong support for the union negotiating team by the ABF members will undoubtedly help us get the best possible result.”

TD Cowen expects the ratification process for the proposed contract to take a month and a half. The investment bank and financial services company added the announcement should avoid any potential freight diversion.

“We are encouraged to see ARCB reach a tentative labor agreement ahead of the June 30 deadline, and the announcement should avert any shipper angst and potential freight diversion,” Cowen analyst Jason Seidl wrote in a report. “While we were not of the belief that a strike would occur, putting the potential unknown behind them is nonetheless a near-term positive from a customer standpoint. The details of the labor deal are yet to be published, and we will continue to monitor future announcements on the agreement.”

ArcBest ranks No. 14 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

Want more news? Listen to today's daily briefing below or go here for more info: