Photo: ABF Freight

Photo: ABF Freight

Less-than-truckload carrier ABF Freight is getting ready to begin negotiations with the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee in December on a new collective bargaining agreement.

ABF and TNFINC will exchange proposals on Dec. 18 and 19, and the negotiations will begin on Jan. 7, 2018. The TNFINC is the negotiating committee of local unions that are affiliated with the Brotherhood of Teamsters. ABF Freight is the largest subsidiary of ArcBest.

The current collective bargaining agreement, known as the ABF National Master Freight Agreement, expires at midnight on March 31, 2018. It covers approximately 8,600 ABF Freight Teamster employees in various locations across the United States, including road drivers, city drivers, dockworkers, mechanics and clerical personnel.

As DC Velocity notes, the last round of contract talks was a tense, eight-month affair that required three one-month extensions; the resulting contract was ratified by only a 52% margin. The publication says "a possible bone of contention will be the relationship between ABF, which remains ArcBest's largest unit, and the parent's nonunion, asset-light logistics business ... Some ABF Teamsters believe that ArcBest, in an effort to reduce costs by taking business away from its unionized unit, routes freight from ABF to its logistics units, in particular Panther Expedited Trucking, an asset-light expedited service provider that ArcBest's forerunner company, Arkansas Best Corp., acquired in 2012."

"We look forward to working with the Teamsters' leadership to reach a new collective bargaining agreement that appropriately reflects the competitive environment in which we operate," said Tim Thorne, ABF Freight president.