Nine years of sacrifice is enough.
Bargaining began in late December at YRC, Holland, and New Penn. Members know the goal: a fair contract after years of sacrifice to save the company.
Does the Hoffa administration get the message?
Ernie Soehl, the freight director under Hoffa, put out a statement prior to the holidays. Soehl stated, “We want to get these companies back to a normal NMFA-style contract and we made clear to the companies that we are not interested in concessions in these negotiations.” He reported that economic proposals have not yet been exchanged or discussed.
We want to make sure that the bargaining committee stands by Soehl’s no concessions stance.
Restoring the lost 15% wage cut and negotiating raises along the lines of ABF is job number one. We also need to protect health and welfare benefits, and start to restore our pensions.
The problem is that the company's debt, which led to our union’s cave-in on concessions, has not dramatically improved.
“Members say it’s been nearly ten years and the company’s still in debt,” said Jerry Yarbrough, a Holland steward in Memphis, “and what’s to say, even with all we’ve done, that they’ll ever get out of debt? Why should we continue to bear the burden? Are the banks just going to bleed us dry and then walk away?”
Members deserve a clear explanation from Hoffa and Soehl outlining how ten years of sacrifices will lead to real improvements with this contract. Members need to stick together to win the best contract we can.