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YRCW, Teamsters seek next steps after rejection of MOU

YRCW CEO James Welch said while the discussion were ongoing, the company’s drivers, dockworkers, account executives and customer service teams have been hard at work serving customers. (Courtesy: YRCW)

The Trucker News Services

1/16/2014

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — YRC Worldwide said Thursday that it was in discussions with officials of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to determine the next steps to move the company forward following the Jan. 10 union vote to reject the carrier’s Memorandum of Understanding extension proposal.

The company plans to revise its proposal to both work within the requirements of the capital markets to refinance the company and protect the jobs of its 32,000 employees, according to YRCW CEO James Welch.

"It is clear the Teamsters understand the urgency of the current situation," Welch said. "Although the company must achieve operational costs savings in the agreement, we also understand that simply re-voting the same proposal is not an option. Over the past few days, many employees have reached out to me expressing concern about the future of the company and about how they could protect their jobs."

Welch said while the discussion were ongoing, the company’s drivers, dockworkers, account executives and customer service teams have been hard at work serving customers.

YRCW Worldwide said Dec. 23 that it had reached an agreement on refinancing 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.

YRCW management had 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.

YRCW blamed the defeat partly on the fact that union members had started voting before the Dec. 23 proposal was released.

In a news release announcing the vote, 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.

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

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