Teamsters vote to authorize strike; talks with carriers set to resume

| Tuesday, February 04, 2003

The members of the Teamsters Union have voted to authorize a strike against companies represented by the Motor Freight Carriers Association, the union announced Feb. 3.

In a statement, union representatives said 95 percent of the members who voted favored authorizing a strike. The vote was called after negotiations with the carriers' group broke down in late January.

The MFCA, a national trade association, represents unionized general freight carriers such as ABF Freight System, Roadway Express, Yellow Freight and USF Holland. The Teamsters and the MFCA said the break in talks - which the MFCA described as a "temporary recess" - was caused by differences over wages and benefits.

However, just as the strike vote was wrapping up, the two groups said they would resume negotiating Feb. 5 in Chicago, the union said. 

"The strike vote has already had an impact by leading to a quick return to talks later this week," Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said.

"Both sides have had an opportunity to fully review and evaluate their respective wage and benefit proposals," Tim Lynch, President and CEO of the MFCA, said in a statement. "We look forward to returning to the bargaining table and resolving these final remaining issues."

The agreement between the groups, which expires March 31, covers 65,000 members of the Teamsters Union.

Smaller carriers that traditionally adopt similar contracts employ another 20,000 Teamsters, the union said.

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