YRC Tentative Agreement: What’s In It?

The ballots for the YRC tentative went out in mid-July. YRC Teamsters face a huge decision, for themselves and their families, and for our union in the freight industry.

YRC Teamsters, who voted in January to accept a ten percent wage cut, were asked to approve additional big concessions. The new agreement contains an 18-month pension contribution termination period, an additional five percent wage cut, and a small reduction in the employer health and welfare contributions.

If approved in a membership vote, the additional pay cut (approximately $1.16 per hour) will go into effect immediately; the pension termination period will begin July 1 and end Dec. 31, 2010; and the contractual health and welfare contribution increase due on August 1 will be reduced to 20 cents per hour.

The temporary pension termination is the biggest item, a cut of $7.60 per hour in pension contributions for the first year of the 18 months, and $8.20 for the latter part of 2010.

With 32,000 Teamsters working, the 18-month pension termination would save YRC about $772 million. The 15 percent pay cut (previous ten percent cut plus additional five percent cut) would save YRC about $290 million per year. The union hired experts from MergeGlobal to review YRC’s finances, and they report that this level of relief is necessary to save the company.

With this agreement in effect, YRC would have a labor cost advantage over ABF of over $11 per hour. ABF management is now clamoring to get some concessions of their own.

The ballot count is scheduled to begin on Aug. 6, and will be monitored by independent concerned Teamsters. The union gained an appointee to the YRC board of directors, a corporate turnaround expert in place at YRC, and the ability for members to obtain more stock options.

Additionally, some of the job protections put forward by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) were added to the tentative agreement: extending recall rights of laid-off Teamsters to ten years; return of Teamster office work that was subcontracted to India; improved “card check” rights to make it easier to organize nonunion units; and some limit on work subcontracted out through YRC Logistics. Unfortunately the diversion of work to YRC Logistics is referred to as “alleged” in the proposal (section 14).

Leave of Absence: Gone

One element of the agreement was retracted before the voting even began. The agreement states in Section 19 that “Bargaining unit employees who are participating in this Revised Plan will be permitted to take a leave of absence without pay.”

But two days later, the IBT issued a “clarification” that states that this only applies if a Teamster secures another job with an employer who participates in a Teamster pension plan. Anyone out there see a lot of hiring by union truck lines?

The clause, which could have at least provided a way for some laid-off Teamsters to get work at zero cost to YRC, was essentially deleted.

You can see the full YRC Memorandum of Understanding here


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