ABF appeals dismissal of lawsuit against YRC Worldwide, Teamsters

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ABF Freight System Inc. announced that it is appealing a federal judge’s decision to dismiss its legal challenge of concessions negotiated between three YRC Worldwide entities and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Fort Smith, Ark.-based company on Tuesday, Jan. 18, sent its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis.

“ABF respectfully disagrees with the court’s decision last month, dismissing the suit which seeks to declare modifications to the National Master Freight Agreement on behalf of YRC Worldwide subsidiaries null and void,” the company said. “Therefore, we have chosen to exercise our right to file an appeal.”

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Webber Wright on Dec. 17 ruled that ABF did not have standing to sue YRC Worldwide Inc. and the Teamsters in court. ABF argued that concession agreements between the Teamsters union and the YRC Worldwide entities violate the National Master Freight Agreement.

YRC Inc., New Penn Motor Express Inc. and USF Holland Inc. on Nov. 16 had asked the U.S. District court for the Western District of Arkansas to dismiss ABF’s complaint because ABF was not a party to the NMFA and had no standing to challenge its amendments.

ABF argued that the union violated the NMFA in 2009 and 2010 by entering into concessionary side agreements with the YRC Worldwide companies to the exclusion of ABF and other companies signatory to the NMFA; these agreements led to ongoing significant wage and benefit reductions and other economic concessions that were applied only to the YRC Worldwide companies.

ABF, with more than 8,000 union employees, argued the third and latest amendment to the NMFA – negotiated between the YRC Worldwide entities and the Teamsters in late September and ratified by union members Oct. 30 as part of a restructuring plan aimed at saving both the company and more than 25,000 union jobs – would provide further wage, benefit and work rule changes that would generate an average of $350 million in annual savings through the end of the extended agreement. ABF also sought financial damages in an amount estimated to be about $750 million by the time the NMFA is set to expire on March 31, 2013.