Teamsters President Jackie Presser has called a national rank-and-file vote on contract concessions for the trucking industry, a move shaping up as his first major test since taking over the union from Roy L. Williams in April.
In messages to Teamster locals, Presser confirmed that the union's general executive board and the National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee have approved a "relief rider" to the national master freight agreement. Presser set in motion a series of local meetings by Aug. 21 to explain the rider and scheduled a vote by over-the-road drivers, city drivers and warehousemen.
Wages and benefits for Teamsters called back to work since April 1 would be cut in an effort to make trucking companies more competitive and put some of the approximately 100,000 Teamsters who have lost their jobs in recent years back to work, Presser aides said.
Dissident Teamsters have charged Presser with covering up details of the rider and engineering a sellout to large trucking companies. They say compensation for recalled Teamsters would be cut from 32 cents a mile to 22 cents, and hourly rates for time not spent driving would be cut from about $13.20 to $11.