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Transport Topics
June 22, 2001

UP Sued Over Operation of Overnite

Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) management is being sued by 10 shareholders who claim that anti-union efforts at Overnite Transportation Co. caused the trucking unit's value to fall about $900 million, news services reported.

The lawsuit, whose plaintiffs include Overnite workers, names Union Pacific Chief Executive Dick Davidson, board members, current managers and former executives such as retired Chairman Drew Lewis. At least three of those suing are Teamsters, whose union began a strike against Overnite in October 1999, said company spokesman Robert Turner.

The suit, filed Memphis, Tenn., in chancery court, claims pervasive anti-union animus by Davidson, Lewis and others resulted in high employee turnover and worker unrest.

UP bought the regional less-than-truckload carrier in 1987 for $1.2 billion and refused a $300 million offer from an unidentified buyer for the unit last year, the suit said. The union began an organizing campaign at Richmond, Va.-based Overnite in the mid-1990s. The two sides have not reached an initial contract, though talks have continued since the strike began.

However, Turner said that the suit is without merit and it is part of the Teamsters' corporate campaign against Union Pacific.

The suit seeks an injunction to stop alleged violations of the National Labor Relations Act, as well as unspecified monetary damages.

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