Truckers who haul new cars to showrooms across the country have voted to accept a contract agreement reached last month with the Teamsters union in closely watched negotiations. The 7,244-1,825 vote in favor of the contract resolves a dispute that had threatened to spark a nationwide strike against 17 trucking companies that hauled more than 15 million cars from assembly plants, ports and rail yards to dealerships last year. "Teamster car haulers have sent a very powerful message to management across the country: United we win," Teamsters President James P. Hoffa said. Voting on the contract took place during a three-week ballot-by-mail period that ended Wednesday. The car haulers' new four-year contract covers about 12,800 drivers, mechanics and yard and office workers. Under the agreement, drivers will get better retirement benefits and trucking companies gain more leeway to schedule mechanics for weekend shifts. Negotiations in the contract dispute, which ended in a June 2 settlement after the union agreed to delay a June 1 strike deadline, attracted attention because auto industry analysts said a strike would have caused long waits for new-vehicle buyers. The talks also marked the first time at the bargaining table for Hoffa since he was elected Teamsters president in March.
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