The Teamsters union has been picketing about two-thirds of Overnite's 166 terminals in an unfair labor practices action that began Oct. 24.
Overnite's strike contingency plan calls for using volunteers from non-Teamsters terminals. In an e-mail sent to parties interested in the Overnite organization battle, the union said that in Chicago Wednesday, "'volunteers' told Overnite they were going home, with or without permissions. The 'volunteers' realized they were just 'pawns.'
"When the volunteers went to check out of the hotel that Overnite had put them in, they found their rooms locked."
When asked about the union's claims, Overnite spokesman Paul Griscti told Newport editors that apparently a single driver - not an Overnite volunteer, but a replacement driver hired from a third-party company - walked off the job and joined the Teamsters picket line.
Griscti said Overnite had nothing to do with the hotel incident, and speculated that the company the driver worked for was responsible for the lockout.
In other Overnite-Teamsters news, Overnite announced that employees at its Decatur, AL, terminal have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to decertify the Teamsters as their bargaining agent. The Teamsters predict the decertification petition will be dismissed by the NLRB, which would be the second time this year.