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Update From Teamsters National Freight Division Director Ernie Soehl, September 4, 2020


The industry in general continues to see improvements in volume. YRC Freight and Holland are actively seeking to hire in many locations. Likewise, ABF is actively seeking to hire road drivers in many locations. 

There continue to be some COVID-19 infections and the established protocols are being followed. Nevertheless, it is absolutely critical that everybody continues to keep their guard up.   Any let down in terms of the use of masks, social distancing or hand sanitizing can easily result in another wave of the virus hitting hard and causing another shutdown. In fact, in terms of the general public, the Midwest is seeing a surge in COVID cases. Drivers making pick-ups and deliveries at college campuses should be extra careful because those locations are seeing sharp spikes in confirmed COVID cases now that students have returned.  

YRC Freight, Holland and New Penn have implemented a new mandatory safety vest policy.  After an initial snafu involving one location handing out old vests that were made overseas, the company has confirmed that the vests will be made in the USA. Additionally, after the initial supply runs out, the company has indicated that we should be able to have the Teamster logo placed on the next batch of vests that are ordered. 

In general, the wearing of high-visibility safety vests in the yard, on the dock and around moving vehicles makes sense. If, however, there are jobs or times when the wearing of the vest is actually dangerous or impractical, the issue should immediately be raised with the company and the local union. Every year, Freight Division members are killed in accidents, frequently by co-workers, because they were not seen. High visibility vests will help save lives. 

Finally, as we are heading into Labor Day weekend, please take a few moments to remember that the labor movement is what created the middle class in America. Without a strong union, the corporations would run wild and workers would have few rights on the job. It is your solidarity that allows us to negotiate strong contracts that provide you with the wages and benefits that you enjoy. Stay active in the union and educate yourselves about worker issues. Be proud to be a Teamster.