The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and TMI/YRC Worldwide, which includes Yellow Freight, Roadway, and USF Holland, have agreed to a tentative five-year labor contract that will cover about 75,000 union freight members.

The current contract expires on March 31, 2008. Leaders from local unions were expected to meet on January 8, 2008, to approve the tentative deal, followed by a vote by members.

According to the Teamsters, the new National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) protects workers' jobs and benefits while allowing the unionized companies to better compete against non-unionized carriers.

“The speed at which the deal got done is a great step forward,” Satish Jindel, president of SJ Consulting, told Fleet Owner “[Teamsters president] Jim Hoffa has shown a willingness to work with employers to be competitive in the market and give concessions.”

As a result of the speed of the YRC negotiations, Jindel said that he believes the Teamsters “probably will reach a settlement quickly with ABF.”

“The early outcome of these negotiations is positive for our employees and positive for our customers,” said Mike Smid, president & CEO of YRC North American Transportation.

“With the major hurdle of the NMFA behind us, we are now positioned to remain competitive in a very challenging industry environment,” Smid added.

“The freight industry and our freight members are faced with many challenges, but this agreement will protect our tens of thousands of freight members' futures, giving them the security they deserve,” said Hoffa. “Our entire National Negotiating Committee, led by vice president Tyson Johnson, did a great job protecting our members' jobs and benefits.”

“This is an excellent agreement,” said Johnson, director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and lead negotiator for the union. “It provides good wage increases and protects members' jobs and their health, welfare and pension benefits.

“It also allows the unionized freight companies to better compete with the non-union companies,” he continued, “and gives the unionized companies opportunities to grow business in new areas.”