Teamsters, car haulers agree on four-year deal

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 2) — A strike by nearly 13,000 Teamsters drivers, mechanics, and other workers involved in hauling new cars in the United States was averted yesterday after the union and 17 companies agreed on a four-year contract.

The contract, which must be ratified by union members, would give drivers a 5% increase in wages the first year, followed by 4% raises in the second, third, and fourth years. The drivers would also receive a $1500 bonus the first year, with more bonuses in following years.

Drivers who choose to retire after 25 years would get better pension benefits, including health insurance for those age 55 or older. Retires over age 65 would get new prescription drug benefits, as well.

Teamsters president James P. Hoffa declared victory, saying the union had not yielded to the trucking companies’ major demands to pay newly hired drivers less, to hire some part-time drivers, and to use Mexican car haulers more extensively.

One concession the union did make was on scheduling flexibility. Full-time mechanics will be allowed to work flexible shifts to help cover weekend hours, such as four 10-hour rather than five eight-hour days.

Teamsters officials expect the agreement to be ratified by union members within a few weeks.

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