The Teamsters union has rejected an offer from Associated Wholesale Grocers to lease its trucks to Teamsters members it laid off so they could operate as independent contractors.

Union drivers for AWG in Springfield, MO, and Kansas City, KS, were locked out of their jobs last weekend after Associated hired outside contractors to run its warehousing and trucking operations.
Associated offered to lease its trucks to the drivers for $100 a month for two years. After the two years were up, AWG would sign over the lease at no additional cost. The catch was, the drivers had to agree to work for the new trucking subcontractors, which use only owner-operators.
The Teamsters rejected the deal for a number of reasons:
* As owner-operators, the drivers would not have the kind of benefits they do as unionized drivers, such as health insurance, pension, holidays and vacations.
* They believe the deal was meant to divide the union truckers and the union warehouse workers, who were not offered any deals.
* Associated's trucks are not exactly an owner-operator's dream, and many of them have more than 600,000 miles on them.