The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) met with ABF this week to start negotiations for a new ABF National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) that would take the place of the current agreement which is set to expire on March 31.
The meetings this week focused primarily on language issues but ABF continues to raise claims that its employee and operating costs are too high. TNFINC however, has made clear that the members are not interested in a concessionary contract.
The parties spent this week trying to resolve some of the less controversial issues.
“Rather than get bogged down right off the bat in what could easily result in a collision, we spent this week trying to resolve some of the less contro- versial issues and made progress in those areas,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of TNFINC.
The parties have tentatively agreed on a number of national language articles, including with regard to: Scope of the Agreement; Recognition; Union Shop and Checkoff; Stewards; Protection of Rights; Loss or Damage; Bonds and Insurance; Uniforms; Passengers; Military Leave; Pay Period; Other Services; Posting; Union Activities; Owner Operators; Separation of Employment; Inspection
Privileges and Employer and Employee Identification; Emergency Reopening; Sympathetic Action; Jurisdictional Disputes; Garnishments; and Non- Discrimination. Most of these tentatively agreed upon articles simply remain unchanged from the current contract but according to Soehl, it made sense to initially “pick the low hanging fruit” and get non-controversial items out of the way.
“We remain committed to getting the best possible agreement for our members,” Soehl said.
The parties will reconvene on January 29 to resume negotiations.
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