Roadway, Yellow Changes of Operation

April 21, 2008: Roadway and Yellow both submitted changes of operations that mark the beginning of the new “utility driver” model.

Hundreds of road and city jobs would be eliminated and converted to the utility employee classification.

The hearings will be held in mid-May, where the union can approve, deny, or approve with modifications.

Many Teamsters have reacted with anger, since the International union sold the contract proposal by arguing this kind of change could not happen. The January 15 Teamster Freight Update states, “The UE [utility employee] will handle next-day and second-day freight exclusively, in a designated part of the terminal.”

But now the carriers seem to want to designate any freight to be UE freight.

“The UE will not replace ‘meet-and-turn’ runs or existing longhaul turn runs.” But now this change would replace turn runs with UEs.

“The UE will not be used to replace or eliminate employees in the existing LTL operations.” But this change calls for hundreds of existing employees to move or take a layoff.

Other contract bulletins issued by the International union repeat these same claims.

Unfortunately, the actual contract language gives wide latitude to the employers. Now is the time, in the first of many such changes, to get the language clarified in a way that gives some protection to Teamsters and local unions. If the companies get complete freedom to designate any and all freight to be UE, any contract protections will be impossible to enforce.

It’s time for the union leadership to take a hard look at our ability to enforce the contract and protect jobs in the future. By sitting down with the carriers now, and getting some written guidelines Teamsters can live with, we can go a long way to protect our members and contract.

If YRC doesn’t want to negotiate reasonable guidelines, there is no reason to rush to approve their proposed changes. They’ve wanted to break down Teamster classifications for many years. They can wait another month if that what it takes for our union to get the guarantees that we need.

Download the Change of Operations:

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