The Richmond, VA-based less-than-truckload giant says the strike is not affecting business, with nearly 97% of deliveries being made on time this week. The company says more than 90% of its workers are crossing picket lines, which are manned largely by non-Overnite workers.
The strike is unusual in that Overnite workers have neither a contract nor full union representation. That hasn't happened since before World War II, according to Greg Tarpinian, director of Labor Research Assn. in New York City. "Virtually all nationwide strikes since World War II have been at companies operating under a union contract."
Even though less than a majority of Overnite's terminals are represented by the Teamsters, there are picketers at about three-quarters of the 166 terminals. Four service centers have been closed, which the Teamsters hail as a victory.
The Teamsters yesterday released a copy of remarks made by Vice President Al Gore at the recent AFL-CIO convention, where he earned the endorsement of the huge labor union. "We want to shine a spotlight on the unfairness of employers like Overnite," he said.
The strike began Sunday at the Memphis, TN, Overnite terminal, after a former terminal operations manager filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board. Dale Watson alleged that his supervisors instructed him to target union supervisors for disciplinary action. However, the company says Watson was fired for being too strict.