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Strike at Overnite Transportation

October 25, 1999

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ The Teamsters union on Sunday set up picket lines across the country at Overnite Transportation Co., one of the nation’s largest trucking companies.

A company spokesman said operations would not be hindered as picket lines went up in Memphis, Illinois, Kentucky, New York, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and La Vergne, Tenn.

The Teamsters and Overnite have been trying to negotiate a contract for four years for the 21 centers where the union represents employees. The company has 160 terminals in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

``Instead of bargaining in good faith, there has been a pattern of retaliation and violence against union supporters,″ said John Murphy, a Teamsters organizer.

Overnite spokesman Ira Rosenfeld denied those allegations and said the strike was not affecting operations, and he didn’t expect it to.

``The entire network is open, and will continue to be so,″ Rosenfeld said. ``We have a strike contingency plan. We use dock workers and drivers not on strike, and we also have temporary replacement workers.″

Both sides have said wages are not a major factor. A major issue is the pension system. Overnite wants to retain control while the Teamsters want to put pension money into a union fund.

Overnite is based in Richmond,. Va., and employs more than 13,000.

A subsidiary of Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific, Overnite competes in the less-than-truckload industry, in which the trucking company coordinates and consolidates small shipments of less than a truckload for pickup and delivery.

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