Opposition mounting to Teamsters deal to cut pensions at ABF Freight


Opposition mounting to Teamsters deal to cut pensions at ABF Freight

Steve Filips

27 April 2018

Workers’ anger is mounting against a sellout deal reached at the end of March between ABF Freight and the Teamsters union. ABF is a subsidiary of Arcbest based in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and is ranked as the overall 11th largest trucking concern handling less-than-truckload (LTL) general commodities from multiple customers within their own regional and national networks. The firm has 10,000 employees, and of that total 8,600 are Teamsters members.

A report from Wolfe Research, a Wall Street analyst, characterized the deal negotiated by the Teamsters as a bonanza for the management. “The details include low annual wage increases and a freeze in pension contributions… we’d view it as positive for ARCB(ABF),” it declared.

While the Teamsters tout the wage raises contained in the deal, they start at a sub-inflation rate of 1.2 percent the first year and a 1.6 percent average in the following years. Further, the contract mandates pension cuts of up to 60 percent for nearly 10 percent for future retirees. Workers will regain one-week vacation lost in the last contract. However, the utilization of lower paid part timers and subcontractors to reduce company costs did not appear to be seriously addressed.

The previous contract expired March 31, but was extended to allow for a vote by the membership. There was no mention of a strike, although workers voted earlier this year by a margin of 98 percent for strike authorization.

The latest sellout deal follows a concession agreement in 2013 where wages were slashed 7 percent. The cuts were declared necessary to stave off an ABF bankruptcy due to net business losses totaling $7.7 million in 2012. The 2013 concessions were projected…

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