As the Teamsters job action against Overnite Transportation headed into its third week, both sides continued to offer widely different versions of how the strike is affecting the non-union less-than-truckload carrier.
"It is still first and foremost a media event," Overnite Senior Vice President-Marketing and Sales John Fain told Overnite customers Friday in an open letter on the company's web site. "The effect on our operations continues to be minimal."
Overnite says while the union has hired people to walk the picket lines at many Overnite facilities, it has had 100% attendance at all but 32 service centers, and a dozen of those have fewer than 10 workers honoring the picket lines.
"With better than 93% of our people on the job and an on-time rate hovering at just below 97% for the week, we can accurately report Overnite operations are up and running smoothly," Fain said.
The Teamsters, meanwhile, say that Overnite terminal managers have been calling workers and begging them to return to work, and that the strike is intensifying.
Last week, police in Little Rock, AR, were called to remove strikers from Priority Wire & Cable. The strikers had followed an Overnite truck to the business as it was making a delivery. There were no arrests. The Teamsters say these "ambulatory strikes" have been a "phenomenal" success.
The Teamster's General Executive Board has pledged its continuing support of the Overnite strike, and strike benefits will be sent to picketing Overnite workers this week.
The unfair labor practices strike began Oct. 24 in Memphis, TN, following allegations by a former Overnite manager that the company targets union supporters for firing. The Teamsters have been trying to organize Overnite, terminal by terminal, since 1994.