(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In a conference call today, the ABF Master Negotiating Committee voted that in light of the overwhelming vote against authorizing a strike, the company’s last proposal for the Central Region Local Cartage Agreement would be accepted. As a result, the ABF-NMFA is now fully ratified.
Earlier this year, the National Master portion of the ABF-NMFA and 27 out of 28 area supplements were approved by the affected membership during balloting conducted over the summer and through mid-October. The lone supplement that had not been ratified by the membership was the Central Region Local Cartage Supplement covering nearly 1,900 drivers, dock workers and other local cartage employees throughout the Midwest.
After proceeding through the process outlined in the IBT Constitution, a strike authorization vote was conducted among the members covered by the unapproved supplement. The ballots were counted yesterday and there was a 77 percent turnout by the affected membership regarding the strike authorization vote. About 70 percent of those voting declined to authorize a strike at ABF. In such situations, the IBT Constitution provides that the Master Negotiating Committee has the authority to accept the company’s final offer.
The Master Negotiating Committee did not come to this decision lightly. As national negotiating committee co-chairman Gordon Sweeton stated, “We have now arrived at a point where, simply put, there is nothing left to negotiate with this employer and no desire for a strike in the Central Region based on the vote we received yesterday from the affected membership. The responsible course of action is to finalize the agreement.”
The agreement will be implemented in the next few days. It contains a 7 percent wage reduction that will become effective on Sunday, Nov. 3. The reduction, however, will be recouped over the life of the agreement with incremental annual wage increases. The agreement also contains provisions to provide for bonuses in the event the company reaches certain national operating performance standards. The agreement does require the company to continue to participate in the same health, welfare and pension programs and provides for contribution increases in order to maintain benefit levels retroactive to Aug. 1.
“We believe that this agreement helps protect our members’ health, welfare and pension benefits and will also give the company the ability to compete in a very tough trucking environment, which is good for ABF and the long-term job security of our members. I would like to thank our ABF members for their patience and support during this difficult process,” Sweeton said.
The new ABF Master Agreement expires on March 31, 2018.