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Teamsters Reach Deal With Car Haulers

The tentative agreement heads off a strike that could have disrupted vehicle deliveries.

June 02, 2003|From Bloomberg News

The Teamsters union and 15 U.S. trucking companies that deliver new cars and trucks reached a tentative five-year agreement, preventing a disruption of vehicle deliveries for General Motors Corp. and other automakers, both sides confirmed Sunday.

Allied Holdings Inc. and 14 closely held companies hammered out a deal with the Teamsters late Saturday before the strike deadline of midnight set by the union, which represents 9,500 drivers who deliver 80% of U.S.-sold vehicles.

The contract "should ultimately enhance our ability to remain the industry leader," said Hugh Sawyer, president and chief executive of Decatur, Ga.-based Allied.

Under the terms, drivers would get improved health and pension provisions, while wages would be frozen for two years and then increase by 2% annually for two years after that, according to Allied. In the last year of the contract, wages -- now $21 an hour -- would grow by 2.5%. Union members will vote on the accord within 60 days.

The Teamsters said the agreement was a victory because it rejected efforts by the employers to force concessions in grievance procedures, wages and pension plans. Overall, the deal would boost wages and benefits by 13.4%, the union said.

"It's a good contract and we think the members are going to recognize that," Teamsters spokesman Bret Caldwell said.

The union sought more job security while Allied and rivals sought to lower costs in the face of nonunion competition.

The accord consists of parallel agreements with two groups: the National Automobile Transporters Labor Division, which represents the 14 closely held companies, and Allied, the single largest employer of Teamster car-hauling drivers.

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