The union has been staging an unfair labor practices strike against less-than-truckload carrier Overnite since Oct. 24. The union started paying $55 per week strike benefits last week, but Wednesday announced it is increasing the amount to $100 per week.
To help pay for the additional benefits, the Teamsters have asked Locals to establish a contribution of 10 cents per member per month to a special Overnite strike fund. Teamster Joint Councils are also asked to provide a substantial, regular monthly contribution to the fund. Teamster of Canada already contributed $25,000.
In notifying the Teamsters that the AFL-CIO was contributing $100,000 to the Overnite strike fund, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney called on affiliated unions to join in support, as well.
While a couple of thousand Overnite workers are on strike, according to Teamsters spokesman David Cameron, only about 500 are eligible for strike benefits. That's because the union has arranged for work as "casuals" for other striking workers at other union companies.
The union expects to have $500,000 to $750,000 in the Overnite strike fund by the end of the month. At the $100 per week benefit for approximately 500 workers, that's enough to fund the strike for 10 to 15 weeks, Cameron says. The union currently has pickets at 140 terminals in 39 states. Overnite says the pickets are predominantly being walked by employees of Overnite's unionized competitors.
Last week, about 50 people from other area unions joined picketers at the Overnite Transportation terminal in Macon, GA. Members of at least 14 different unions, including the Teamsters, walked the picket line, reported The Macon Telegraph. The Macon Federation of Trades & Labor Council, which represents about 35 area unions, has promised to help Teamsters and striking Overnite employees. The group plans to raise money for the striking employees and are in the process of setting up a food bank.