The National Master Freight Agreement is the collective bargaining agreement covering most unionized trucking employees in the country.
ABF filed a grievance under the NMFA and also an accompanying lawsuit, naming as parties the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee; Teamsters Locals 373 (Fort Smith, Ark.) and 878 (Little Rock, Ark.), individually and as representatives of a class of all Teamsters Locals that are parties to the NMFA; YRC Inc.; New Penn Motor Express Inc.; USF Holland Inc.; and Trucking Management, Inc.
YRC and the Teamsters announced over the weekend that the union membership ratified a "restructuring plan" aimed at saving more than 25,000 union jobs. It was the third round of union concessions at the struggling LTL carrier.
But ABF says that's not fair to the competitors that are also covered under the National Master Freight Agreement.
"It is ABF's firm belief that the three rounds of concessions granted to YRC - with the latest deal just ratified last week - by the IBT are in violation of the NMFA that has been in effect since April 2008," said Wesley Kemp, president and CEO, ABF Freight System. "The NMFA applies equally to every company that signed it and quite simply, with these three amendments, it does not do that.
"We need a long-term, industry-wide solution that is fair to all NMFA parties," Kemp continued. "We have the obligation to our employees, to our customers and to Arkansas Best shareholders to enforce our rights under the NMFA and compete on the same playing field with our industry peers."
The Teamsters union released a statement saying it had reviewed the lawsuit and the grievance and found "each of them to be frivolous and without merit. The Teamsters will vigorously defend against the lawsuit and grievance and will withhold further comment until we have thoroughly reviewed the documents."