New Threat: YRC May Close If Chicago Votes No

December 2, 2009: YRCW will close if 1500 Teamsters in Chicago don’t take a $1.16 per hour pay cut: that’s what IBT Freight Director Tyson Johnson and IBT vice president Pat Flynn have told the YRC Teamsters.

On Dec. 1-2, YRC management gave time to Flynn and Johnson to offer a hard sell to Local 705 and 710 Teamsters at the four Chicagoland YRC and Holland terminals.

On Dec. 8, Local 710 dock workers will vote for a third time on the concessions, and Local 705 for the second time. Both groups previously rejected them by a 2-1 margin. The vote will be held at the terminals, not by mail.

This follows Hoffa’s power grab of November 24, when the IBT claimed the power to dissolve the Local 705 and Local 710 contracts, which do not expire until 2013, into the national freight contract. That move gave the IBT total control of the bargaining and disbanded the union bargaining committees. But they feared imposing concessions without a vote because it would lead to a lawsuit to protect members’ right to vote.

The takeover sets an ugly precedent. Will it happen to the 15,000 UPS Teamsters in Locals 705 and 710 if they don’t “follow orders” from the top officials? Chicago Teamsters have vowed to fight that move.

The IBT’s talk about a shutdown of the company comes at a time when YRCW is working hard to finalize its debt-for-equity swap, which will hopefully wipe out $537 million of debt and put the company on better footing.

IBT officials claim that without the vote, YRC will owe the Local 705 and 710 pension funds money, and YRCW’s lenders will balk. This contradicts Pat Flynn’s own letter to members of Oct. 2, where he stated that the “deferral on contributions to the Pension Fund is no longer a factor for consideration, as the Pension Trustees have already acted on the issue...the only true consideration is the 5% wage reduction.” YRCW would however, be continuing to accrue liability to the separate Local 705 fund.

Flynn and Johnson also told Teamsters that it’s unfair for Chicago-area Teamsters to reject concessions that were accepted nationally.

Many members don’t know what to believe, because they’ve been lied to before.

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