Seattle Times spars with union over plans to outsource trucking

by Bill Richards,

Both sides emerged looking relieved after Teamsters negotiators, representing Seattle Times truck drivers, met for the first time last week with a quartet of officials from Penske Logistics, which is related to the truck-leasing company. They had justed discussed Seattle Times Co. plans to outsource the trucking unit for both the Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to Penske starting Feb. 29. Penske's proposal to hire only Teamsters to drive trucks for the Times left the union optimistic; the Teamsters, in turn, muted their earlier threats to fight the outsourcing to Penske.

The goodwill didn't last long. A Times Co. unfair labor practice complaint arrived at Teamsters Seattle headquarters after the meeting, charging the union, which represents 74 truckers and mechanics, failed to bargain in good faith during the period leading up to the end of their contract a month from now. The Teamsters immediately fired back with their own complaint to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), countering that not only was it the Times that was refusing to bargain in good faith but that the Seattle Times Co. had tried to intimidate the truckers by issuing "a fraudulent document purporting to be a WARN Act notice," telling the Teamsters their Times jobs would be going to Penske.


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