PHOENIX "” The Truckload Carriers Association has changed its long-standing support of the status quo on truck weight limits in announcing a new preference in favor of an 88,000-pound gross vehicle weight, up the from the current 80,000-pound federal limit.
Looking at highways clogged with worsening congestion, a reigniting driver shortage and infrastructure plans that cannot get to the execution stage, TCA's board of directors decided it was imperative to support greater truck productivity, two of the group's leaders said here.
"We don't want to be forced into buying new equipment," said TCA Chairman John Kaburick. "But there is a driver shortage and we believe we can increase productivity."
Kaburick and TCA President Chris Burruss said after TCA's board meeting Saturday that the 88,000-pound figure was chosen carefully by an association study group as a way to increase productivity with current models of tractors and twin-axle trailers. Other proposals in the industry call for a 97,000-pound limit, but with triple-axle trailers.
"This was a unanimous vote by our Highway Policy Committee and the board of directors," Burruss said.
TCA's meeting was held here in conjunction with American Trucking Associations' Management Conference & Exhibition, which finishes Tuesday.
TCA has historically balked at increasing the GVW limit because of worries that smaller carriers will be compelled to make tremendous capital expenditures for new tractors and trailers in the face of slowly increasing or static freight rates..
ABF Sues YRC Unit, Teamsters Union Over Master Freight Contract
ABF Freight System said it filed legal actions Monday against units of YRC Worldwide and the Teamsters union for what it said were violations of the National Master Freight Agreement collective bargaining agreement that covers most U.S. unionized trucking employees.
ABF filed a grievance under the NMFA and an accompanying lawsuit naming the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and several Teamster units and affiliates, and YRC Worldwide units YRC Inc., New Penn Motor Express and USF Holland.
"It is ABF's firm belief that the three rounds of [worker pay] concessions granted to YRC "” with the latest deal just ratified last week . . . are in violation of the NMFA that has been in effect since April 2008," said Wesley Kemp, ABF's CEO.
"The NMFA applies equally to every company that signed it and quite simply, with these three amendments, it does not do that," he said in a statement. "We need a long-term, industry-wide solution that is fair to all NMFA parties.
YRC's Teamsters rank-and-file members approved a new contract to run through the year 2015 that YRC said would save it $350 million a year and the union said would save up to 25,000 jobs, the two announced Saturday. (Click here for previous story.)
YRC and the union's leadership said in late September they had agreed to extend a previous 15% pay cut for two more years, to partially restore pension contributions next year and to obtain a $300 million capital infusion from a new investor.
ABF Files Appeal on YRC-Teamsters
ABF Freight System has appealed a judge's ruling dismissing its suit against the Teamsters union and competing less-than-truckload carrier YRC Worldwide over a labor agreement reached last year between YRC and the union.
ABF, the LTL unit and largest operating division of Arkansas Best Corp., filed the appeal Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, the company said in a regulatory filing.
A judge last month dismissed ABF's suit over the deal between YRC and the Teamsters, which included pay and pension cuts to help YRC's bottom line, saying it violated the National Master Freight Agreement.
After YRC and the Teamsters reached their agreement in late October, ABF filed suit for what it called violations of the NMFA collective bargaining provisions that cover most U.S. unionized trucking employees.
Arkansas Best Corp is ranked No. 16 on the Transport Topics 100 listing of U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers. YRC is ranked No. 4.