Overnite Transportation yesterday called on the Teamsters union to allow workers to decide their own fate in a company-wide vote on union representation.
"We are confident, if given the chance, that the overwhelming majority of our employees will tell the Teamsters they support Overnite's current direction," said Overnite Chairman and CEO Leo Suggs. "It is time for the Teamsters to let the democratic process proceed."
The company's offer, originally made last year, comes as the Teamsters are threatening a nationwide unfair labor practices strike.
"Their threatened strikes, trumpeted loudly before the media, are simply designed to intimidate our customers," Suggs says. "In reality, they cannot shut this company down because our people will not support a strike. If the Teamsters were truly interested in the people they say they represent, they would not try to chase away the customers that allow Overnight to provide job security and some of the best jobs, wages and benefits in the industry."
Overnite's offer also follows the 13th decertification petition filed by Overnite employees in the last two years with the National Labor Relations Board to remove the Teamsters as their official bargaining representative, this time at the Tupelo, MS, terminal.
The union has been trying to organize Overnite for five years. Depending on whether you talk to the trucking company or the union, they represent either 14% or more than 40% of the employees.
One of the contract negotiations' sticking points is the Teamsters' demand that Overnite exchange its employees fully funded pension plan for participation in the Teamsters' Central States Pension Fund.
"What the Teamsters are offering is a questionable pension system and a history of union companies that have failed to stay in business while operating under restrictive union work rules. We cannot and will not sign a contract that places our company and its employees' future in jeopardy," Suggs says.