FORT SMITH, Ark., Oct. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Arkansas Best Corporation (Nasdaq: ABFS) today reported that the national five-year labor agreement for less-than-truckload carrier ABF Freight System, Inc. is now ratified and will take effect on November 3, 2013 and run through March 31, 2018. The new ABF National Master Freight Agreement achieves the company's stated goals of putting ABF Freight on a path to profitability by allowing the company to reduce costs and become more competitive, while preserving the best-paying jobs in the freight industry for ABF employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The contract implementation follows the failure of a strike authorization vote on October 29 by employees covered by the Central Region Local Cartage supplement. The national contract was ratified by a majority of Teamster employees on June 27, 2013, and 26 of 27 supplements were ratified by October 14. Members of the Teamsters' ABF National Negotiating Committee were polled today following the failure of the strike vote on Tuesday, and the Committee determined that the contract is now ratified, paving the way for the November 3 effective date of the national and all supplemental agreements. "On behalf of all of the people and customers who depend upon ABF Freight, we are pleased that this final step in our lengthy contract negotiation process is now complete," said Arkansas Best President and Chief Executive Officer Judy R. McReynolds. "This new labor agreement follows several years of sacrifice from our non-union employees," McReynolds added. "As the transportation and logistics market continues to rapidly evolve, we are grateful that our union employees have also recognized the need for ABF Freight to operate much more efficiently so that we can better serve our customers every day."