9/23/08

Striking Teamsters face replacements in PNW

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Labor-states are home turf for militant unionists

Oak Harbor Freight Lines, a trucking company based in Auburn, is hiring replacements for its striking Teamsters, a company spokesman said.

The Teamsters at the company's Auburn and Portland facilities walked out Monday night, said Oak Harbor spokesman Mike Hobby. Their labor contract expired last Oct. 31, and negotiations have failed to resolve disagreements about the company's proposed health-care plan nearly a year later, Hobby said.

Hobby said he could not comment on the company's latest proposal, offered Monday, until union officials have time to review it.

In the meantime, the company is hiring replacement workers, he said.

"We've committed to our customers that we'll continue to move our freight, and we're doing so," he said.

The union has called the company's health-care proposals "substandard," spokesman Bill McCarthy said on the Teamsters' Web site. Teamsters also had objections to previous proposals to reduce retirement benefits, eliminate paid sick leave, deny pay raises to certain employees and replace office workers with subcontractors, McCarthy said on the site.

The union has filed charges of unfair-labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing Oak Harbor of "bad faith bargaining," McCarthy said.

(seattletimes.nwsource.com)

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