International Brotherhood of Teamsters president James P. Hoffa called LTL carrier Consolidated Freightways' (CF) decision to shut down yesterday after 73 years of business devastating, and said the 15,500 union members being laid off are victims of corporate mismanagement.
CF informed employees yesterday via a voice message that the company was shutting down immediately. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.
"There are now nearly 15,000 Teamsters without jobs because CF’s management did not adjust to the demands of the market as other successful unionized companies had," Hoffa said.
Hoffa said the failure of CF to survive while other union trucking firms, such as Roadway and Yellow, experienced record profits raises serious questions about CF’s mismanagement. This leadership failure, combined with the ongoing impact of trucking deregulation is directly responsible for the closing of CF, according to Hoffa.
According to Hoffa, the union had been trying for more than a year to meet with former CEO Pat Blake to offer its assistance in addressing the company’s problems. However, Hoffa said CF’s management refused to meet while assuring the union that the company was making the necessary adjustments to deal with its financial issues.
It was not until after the company appointed CEO John Brincko that management agreed to meet with the union in July, Hoffa said.
Hoffa also announced that the union will exercise all of its legal options to recover any wages, vacation pay, benefits and other monetary claims due to our members, including conducting a thorough investigation to determine the appropriateness of litigation against CF’s parent company and affiliated companies regarding whether CF’s demise was part of an intentional corporate scheme.
The Teamsters will also work with various pension funds to ensure that CF pays all unfunded liabilities that may be triggered by the closing, Hoffa said.
"This isn’t a paper loss," Hoffa said. "This is about 15,000 families whose good-paying jobs and health and pension benefits have been wiped out due to the failure of a few."