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Trucking industry to Teamsters Financially troubled by a sharp drop in shipments and profits, trucking employers will soon place cost-cutting proposals before the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The industry wants the IBT to defer or offset a cost of living adjustment of about 40 cents an hour coming due on April 1.

The union recognizes the industry's problem and shares it. A third of the industry's work force, or about 100,000 unionists, have been laid off. Job pressures led the IBT to sign what it calls a ''modest'' contract a year ago. Members grumbled then, and it is by no means certain that further concessions would be accepted now.

The industry must convince the union that further cuts in labor costs would reverse the shortage of shipping traffic and lead to restored jobs.

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