KINGMAN – A “labor dispute” came before the Mohave County Board of Supervisors at its meeting Monday when an employee of ABF Freight System expressed concerns about the company’s proposal to leave Kingman and relocate to another part of Mohave County due to operational deficiencies.
ABF Freight System is currently located at 3980 E. Highway 66 in Kingman, and has been for 38 years. But Ed Myers, director of western line-haul operations at ABF, explained to supervisors that the company must relocate.
“I guess what I really want to convey is that ABF cannot remain in Kingman based on operational deficiencies,” Myers said. “We must move farther west. And I would hate for somebody that just doesn’t want to move to maybe ruin what we have as an ideal location lined up, and then we end up settling for something much less ideal down the line. But the bottom line is ABF must move farther west, and I am all for this.”
The proposed location is in the Mohave Valley vicinity south of Plantation Road and east of Riverfront Parkway in Mohave County. The matter was before the board because the relocation required a change to the land-use designation from agricultural-residential to general commercial, and a rezone from general commercial one acre minimum to a commercial manufacturing open lot storage zone.
Myers told supervisors that the relocation would save the company two hours in traveling to Los Angeles and back, an important distinction from their current location as it will allow for compliance with legal Department of Transportation driving hours. The new location would also permit the company to transport to Sacramento, which it cannot do from its current Kingman location.
The employee, a truck driver who said he was speaking on behalf of other drivers, is concerned with the relocation not because of the move itself but due to the location chosen.
He said there are safety concerns with the new location. He noted that streets are not lit and are in poor condition, roads narrow to two lanes and there are a lack of a shoulders on the roads. He said drivers are also concerned about driving through a residential neighborhood.
Supervisor Lois Wakimoto (District 5-Fort Mohave) questioned whether or not drivers would indeed have to travel through residential neighborhoods to get to the new location, which is located in her district. She said most of the truck traffic she sees is on the west and east sides of Broadway Street, not on Jay Street which goes through residential neighborhoods.
“I know that’s the most direct route, and the one with the most turns and the most residential, but most of the other trucks are going the other way through business areas instead of residential …” she said of not utilizing Jay Street. “So if you took an extra five minutes or so down to the next exit, you would not have to go through the residential area.”
Myers reiterated that ABF would not drive through residential areas, and instead would access the site by taking State Highway 95 down to Barrackman Road.
Wakimoto believed the issue boiled down to a labor dispute, or an employee disgruntlement, as Myers later described the matter. Myers had told the board earlier that the company and the union both signed off on the move.
Myers addressed other concerns drivers had about the safety of the roads by pointing to the “rigorous, vigorous safety training program that all the drivers participate in.”
Myers told Supervisor Jean Bishop that the company would be relocating from Kingman regardless of whether or not the board approved the change in land use designation and rezone. Supervisors were in agreement that it would be best to retain the company in Mohave County. The board unanimously approved both the land use designation change and the rezone.