Teamsters Strike Overnite Transportation
October 24, 1999
A strike by the Teamsters union against the nation's sixth largest less-than-truckload company is spreading to other locations.
The action began Sunday morning when members of Teamsters Local 667 in Memphis, TN, struck over alleged unfair labor practices by Overnite Transportation.
As of Monday morning, Overnite workers at some 40 locations nationwide joined in support of the Memphis workers. Terminals affected include South Holland, Palatine and Bedford Park, IL; Farmingdale, NY; Dallas, Fort Worth, Tyler and Garland, TX; Harrisburg and Bensalem, PA; Miami, FL; Sacramento, CA; Milwaukee, WI; Lexington, KY; Omaha, NE; Portland, OR; Little Rock, AR; Decatur, AL; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; St. Louis, Bridgeton and Springfield, MO; Toledo, Dayton, Richfield and Cincinnati, OH; Indianapolis, IN; and Atlanta, N. Atlanta, Macon and Marietta, GA.
According to Teamsters spokesman David Cameron, the strike began when "an operations manager from Overnite's Memphis terminal came forward and turned state's evidence against the company. In a sworn affidavit, the man alleged there is a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of the company where Overnite is targeting and firing workers who are exercising their federally protected rights to get union representation."
Attempts to reach Overnite officials about the charges have been unsuccessful.
Cameron says he expects the strike to spread to all 166 Overnite terminals by the end of the day. He says the strike will last "as long as it takes."
For the past five years, Overnite and the Teamsters have been battling one another as the union has had mixed results in trying to organize individual Overnite terminals. During that time, the Teamsters union has frequently charged the company with trying to interfere with the organizing process. The union says Overnite is "one of the worst labor law violators of our generation," including unlawful withholding of wage increases, unlawful harassment, intimidation, surveillance and bad faith bargaining.
Overnite Chairman and CEO Leo H. Suggs says the current Teamster action is likely to be similar to the strike attempt in July when the Teamsters picketed several service center locations for five days. Overnite says service commitments were kept during that time with minimal disruption, and the union withdrew pickets with no concessions from the company. As of Monday morning, the company said it has suffered no disruptions in service.