Widespread opposition by truck drivers to Teamsters’ deal

Are you a car haul industry worker? Fill out the form at the end of this article to tell us what you think of the proposed contract and what you think is the way forward in this fight.

Car haulers (Source: Jack Cooper)

Rank-and-file opposition is growing against a tentative agreement reached by the Teamsters union earlier this month with the car-hauling companies. The proposed three-year contract would further erode the living standards and conditions of the 3,000 truck drivers, mechanics and yard workers covered by the National Master Automobile Transporters Agreement (NMATA). Ballots are currently being mailed out, with votes expected to be tabulated by July 12.   

Most of the workers are employed by Jack Cooper and Cassens transport companies. The deal, which would run until August 31, 2025, also covers several smaller carriers, including Active USA, Auto Handling, Inc., Annapolis Junction Rail Solutions, Flint Rail Services, Kenosha Releasing, RCS Transportation and TransCargo. 

The Teamsters’ new supposedly “reform” president, Sean O’Brien, and his negotiating committee co-chair Avral Thompson are trying to sell the deal as the “most lucrative carhaul agreement in history.” Workers, however, have a very different opinion of the contract. 

The 9 percent wage increase in the first year (followed by 5 percent in 2023 and 4 percent in 2024) is barely above the rate of inflation of 8.6 percent. It fails to address the cut in real income contained in the union’s one-year extension in 2021, which included an insulting 1.8 percent increase.

Cost of living increases, which have been capped at only 10 percent for years, will increase to 50 cents in 2023, with Thompson telling workers at a recent online forum, “If the CPI (Consumer Price Index) continues to rise at this pace, we can also renegotiate a wage increase in the new contract…”

Most infuriating for workers is that the deal retains several of the most egregious givebacks which the Teamsters helped wealthy corporate raiders extort from workers during the bankruptcy restructurings of several carriers over the last 15 years, including Jack Cooper (2019) and the now defunct Allied (2006).

The deal retains no serious changes to the hated Article 22 on “New Business,” which allows carriers to pay drivers half the normal rate for loads if a non-union carrier had done that business a year ago. The deal also includes no changes to Article 48, which forces drivers doing pick-ups away from their local hubs to accept the lowest-paying and most difficult loads.  

A rebellion is developing among growing numbers of workers against the below-inflation raises and miserable conditions enforced by the pro-corporate trade unions. On Monday, Ventra Evart auto parts workers in Michigan overwhelmingly defeated a concessions contract backed by the United Auto Workers, voting to reject it by 95 percent.

“There has been huge opposition to this contract from the get-go”

A veteran car hauler who works for Cassens in Detroit explained the significance of these articles and why workers planned to vote against the contract. We are protecting the worker against retaliation from the company and the Teamsters by referring to him by the pseudonym “Fred.”

About the Author: AKDSEO

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