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Teamsters reject MOU agreement with YRC Worldwide

Teamsters Union members voted over the past several weeks and ballots were counted Thursday. The YRC-proposed extension and modification was voted down 61 percent to 39 percent.

The Trucker News Services

1/10/2014

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — YRC Worldwide officials said late Thursday they were in contact with leaders of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to explore what options might be taken after union members failed to approve the Memorandum of Understanding extension proposal.

"While we are disappointed in the outcome of the vote, we believe that timing of events related to our refinancing did not work in our favor. Many employees had already returned their ballots prior to Dec. 23, the date the company announced it had a refinancing agreement in place. We believe that was information employees needed to make a fully informed decision," YRC Worldwide CEO James Welch said.

YRC Worldwide said Dec. 23 that it had reached an agreement with certain holders of its Series A Convertible Notes, Series B Convertible Notes and other institutional investors that will allow the carrier to reduce debt by approximately $300 million.

Teamsters Union members voted over the past several weeks and ballots were counted Thursday. The proposed extension and modification was voted down 61 percent to 39 percent.

“The Teamsters Union believes in democracy and we’ve let the democratic process take its course,” Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and Co-Chairman of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC), said. “Our members have made huge sacrifices to keep this company alive and a majority made the decision not to sacrifice anymore.”

YRCW management communicated with Teamster members and leaders in late October and early November 2013 about the need to make modifications and get an extension in order to address upcoming debt maturities. Following the initial outreach, the company submitted a proposal that Teamster local union leaders agreed to send to members for their vote, while management also worked to line up new money to reduce company debt and go to market on refinancing its remaining debt – with all three contingent on the other.

In a news release, the union said Teamsters at YRCW had already “made tremendous sacrifices, beginning six years ago with a 15 percent wage concession from the National Master Freight Agreement rate and a 75 percent reduction in pension contributions.”

“Our members have sacrificed billions of dollars in wages and pension benefits over the past five years and yet the company has been unable to recover from the disastrous policies of the previous management,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President and Co-Chairman of TNFINC.

"Despite the vote results, it is business as usual as we have approximately 15,000 trucks on the road today serving 250,000 customers. We will keep our customers, employees and stakeholders advised of our efforts," Welch said.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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