February 21, 2014: Over sixty Teamsters attended a February 15 meeting near St. Louis to hear Paul Taylor, lead attorney for the Truckers Justice Center, speak on truck safety issues. The crowd included UPS feeder and package drivers as well as UPS Freight road drivers, freight Teamsters, and carhaulers. Taylor discussed various issues involving trucking safety and the protections available to truck drivers.
Taylor recently won two major decisions against UPS on behalf of feeder drivers.
You can also learn more about your rights and protections here.
If you're interested in helping to organize a meeting in your area, contact TDU.
February 19, 2014: YRC, New Penn, and Holland Teamsters all have a “clean slate” going forward from February 9, 2014 when it comes to documented absences. But management is ready to move on the “new” national uniform attendance policy so every member must be prepared.
Tyson Johnson also issued a memo on February 7, 2014 addressing a range of issues regarding the “Extension of the Agreement for Restructuring of YRC”. He outlines responses to frequently asked questions on the 2014 and 2015 bonus, profit sharing, attendance policy, paid vacation and purchased transportation.
With every contract, including this latest concessionary extension, the devil is in the details. Look over the memos to learn what’s coming down the pike. Remember these memos aren’t the contract but they are management and union interpretations of how it’s going to play out. Be prepared.
Here’s a link with some advice on how to deal with absentee discipline.
Here’s a link with advice on FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).
February 11, 2014: Recent YRCW SEC filings reveal a payment of $5.5 million to MAEVA Group. See Item 16 in the link for the SEC filings. MAEVA is Harry Wilson’s company. Wilson, you may recall, is the Hoffa appointed trustee to the YRC Board. His firm aided YRC in getting the new refinance terms from the banks.
So while working Teamsters at YRC, Holland and New Penn entered 2014 giving up even more concessions in wages and benefits to keep the company afloat, Harry Wilson – a board trustee - kicked off the new year with a belated Christmas present of millions.
It’s time for Hoffa to explain the point of Harry Wilson and what good he does for Teamster members.
You can read the DC Velocity report on this issue.
YRC Worldwide Inc. said it has moved forward in the refinancing of its debt by completing a multi-step transaction worth about $300 million.
A total of $250 million of common and preferred stock was issued to retire convertible notes that were outstanding. In addition, the company late in Jan. 31 said $50 million in convertible notes were exchanged or converted into stock. In addition, pension fund obligations have been extended to 2019.
YRC’s total debt, including the latest transaction, was $1.35 billion as of its latest earnings report. The refinancing moved forward following last month’s approval by the Teamsters union of a contract extension into 2019. Lenders insisted on that extension to provide more financial certainty as debt matured over the intervening period.
“Beginning in late 2011, this management team set a very deliberate course to stabilize the company. While we are not yet done with our operational turnaround at YRC Freight, today’s equity investment and subsequent reduction of approximately $300 million in debt is an incredible validation of the hard work and commitment of every single YRCW employee,” Jamie Pierson, chief financial officer of YRC Worldwide, said in a statement.
Pierson said the company expects to refinance the rest of its debt in mid to late February.
The contract extension continued a 15% pay cut and lower pension contributions for 26,000 workers at the company that ranks No. 5 on Transport Topics Top 100 For Hire Carriers in the U.S. and Canada.
A new study found that the restart provision in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration‘s current hours-of-service rule is more effective at combating fatigue than the prior hours rule, the agency said.
The “real world, third-party” study, mandated by the MAP-21 transportation law, provided scientific evidence that the restart provision helps “truckers stay well-rested, alert and focused on the road,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a Jan. 30 statement.
The hours rule, which became effective July 1, requires any driver working long enough to need a restart to take off at least 34 consecutive hours that include two periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.
The study found that drivers who began their work week with just one nighttime period of rest, as compared with the two nights in the updated 34-hour restart break, exhibited more lapses of attention, reported greater sleepiness and showed increased lane deviation in the morning, afternoon and at night.
“This new study confirms the science we used to make the hours-of-service rule more effective at preventing crashes that involve sleepy or drowsy truck drivers,” FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro said. “For the small percentage of truckers that average up to 70 hours of work a week, two nights of rest is better for their safety and the safety of everyone on the road.”
January 27, 2014: The voting results are in and the YRC concessions will be extended through 2019. Join YRC Teamsters who are taking aim at 2016 and the chance to vote out the Hoffa administration and take back our union.
Teamster members approved the YRCW “Plan B” contract extension by a vote of 12,267 to 6,314 in local union voting over the weekend. Hoffa and Hall immediately hailed it as “saving 30,000 jobs.” The vote means that the 2008 contract is now extended to run 11 years, until 2019.
As vote reports started coming in on Saturday, it became clear that the balance was tipping to Yes, from the overwhelming rejection of Plan A earlier this month. Many big locals switched majorities from No to Yes, such as Los Angeles Local 63, Dallas Local 745, Columbus Local 413, Akron Local 24, and Kansas City Local 41.
Some big locals did vote majority No, such as Chicago Local 710 and Portland Local 81, among others. Some voted Yes, but by narrow margins, such as Atlanta Local 728, St. Louis Local 600, and Memphis Local 667.
You can see the Local-by-Local votes here.
Management and the Hoffa administration were forced to make some improvements in Plan B due to Teamster solidarity in the first vote: 1) the mean-spirited five year wage freeze for non-CDL Teamsters was removed; 2) vacation week was saved for affected Teamsters; 3) the vacation pay concession was improved. The rank and file won those changes, while Hoffa and Hall sat back watching.
Stand United for Change
The battle for the future of Teamsters in freight is not over. YRCW, ABF and UPS Freight Teamsters have been through the wringer and out the other side. It is clearly time for change in our union, or we will stay on the defensive, taking concessions, and not organizing.
YRC Local 773 road driver Al Watrous, the administrator of the No More Concessions! Facebook page, summed it up:
“We need to stand United more than ever before. We are all in this together and have been lacking Unity and Leadership for far too long. Keep it together Teamsters, we have work to do.”
That work is organizing a movement now to change our union in 2016. Two years from this month, there will be delegate elections in almost every local – including yours. Those delegates – lots of them – will be needed to nominate a team to take Hoffa and Hall out. Change will happen, but only if we organize, starting now.
Change at the top starts with organizing at the bottom in our local unions. If you want to be part of a national movement to take back our union, contact us.
Will Harry Wilson Take Home another $5.5 Million?
Hoffa’s appointee to the YRCW Board, Harry Wilson, may now stand to collect a $5.5 million “completion fee” if YRCW successfully refinances debt, as a result of Teamsters taking concessions until 2019.
Hoffa and Hall’s Wall Street tycoon shouldn’t be making millions while Teamsters are taking concessions. How about putting that money toward some new equipment instead?
A Dangerous Precedent
The vote last weekend was the first-ever contract vote by YRCW or master freight Teamsters without a mail ballot. The excuse was it needed to be done fast to allow management time to refinance.
Earlier this month Hall had a different excuse for the quickie-vote and no mail ballot at UPS Freight.
TDU believes in fair and informed contract votes, and we have successfully sued in court over UPS, Freight, and Carhaul national contracts in the past to enforce this right.
At the national meeting of Local Officers a week ago, Tyson Johnson referred to TDU’s lawsuits when he stated he could not speed the vote up even more!
We will continue to defend members’ right to a fair vote, with time to discuss it, and with all members given a mail ballot.
If you have opinions on this issue, you can let us know here.
Teamsters workers on Sunday approved a revised contract offer from Overland Park-based YRC Worldwide Inc. with 66 percent of the vote, an outcome both sides called critical to the struggling freight hauler’s future.
The weekend vote at union balloting sites ran 12,267 in favor to 6,314 against. Passage followed a monthlong mail-in vote on an earlier offer that 61 percent had rejected.
“This was a very difficult vote for our members, but in the end they did what they believe will give this company the best chance to stay in business and protect their jobs,” Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa said in a release announcing the results. “Now we will hold management’s feet to the fire to make sure our members’ jobs are protected and redouble our efforts to make sure this company handles its finances responsibly.”
YRC chief executive James Welch said the approval gives the company the labor stability it needs to gain a badly needed refinancing of its debts. He also said the union leadership’s support was the difference in getting the revised pact approved.
“This was a big day for us,” Welch said. “I appreciate that the (Teamsters) leadership worked hard to get this done.”
Union and company officials both had said all the jobs of YRC’s more than 30,000 employees hung in the balance, not just the roughly 26,000 Teamsters who work there. YRC Worldwide, a Fortune 500 company, owes more than $1 billion it can’t repay, including $69.4 million due Feb. 15.
In proposing the revised offer, Welch had said it was the “best — and only remaining — path forward.”
Unlike the first proposal, the revised pact was backed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, whose leaders negotiated its terms.
A video posted on the union’s website said a yes vote would give the company a chance to survive. Rejection would prevent refinancing, lead to a default and “would within a matter of weeks likely trigger bankruptcy,” the video said.
Workers had rejected the original offer, which was proposed by the company without negotiating with the union.
The revised offer eliminated some concessions in the original offer and added new protections for workers.
With the vote, Teamsters workers agreed to extend into March 2019 the 15 percent pay cut they’ve lived with since 2009 as well as reduced pension contributions from YRC Worldwide. The new pact also adds concessions on raises for this year and next, among other changes.
“Once again, our members’ sacrifices are providing the lifeline for the company,” Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters freight division, said in the announcement. “Now we fully expect the company to successfully conclude the deleveraging and refinancing components of the restructuring to once and for all put this company on a sustainable path.”
To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis [at] kcstar.com.
Union workers at YRC Worldwide Inc. will vote this weekend on a revised contract proposal that could be the last hope in keeping the less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier out of bankruptcy.
Workers will vote this weekend in secret ballots at union meetings nationwide. Ballots will be counted as soon as the meetings are over. The Teamsters union represents about 26,000 YRC workers.
Click here to read more at DC Velocity.
UPDATED January 22, 2014. 4:00 p.m. The International Union has just issued new Rules for contract voting by 26,000 YRCW Teamsters. The changes 1) are to allow Friday voting in a sealed envelope for drivers subject to dispatch who will not be back to their home local to vote on the weekend; and 2) clarify that anyone on layoff, but who has worked in the past three years, may vote, even if they are on withdrawal.
The full tentative agreement is available here. We encourage members to review it and share it with co-workers.
It is considerably changed from YRCW’s “wish list” which was overwhelmingly rejected by members. Reduced vacation pay has been modified, and delaying three-weeks of vacation until 11 years of seniority is out. The two-tiered wage increase is out (Non-CDL dock and office workers were denied any wage increases in the first proposal) and non-CDL new-hires will have a progression. The proposal to use Utility Employees is out.
The lump-sum bonus the first two years of the five-year extension is still in; but those on seasonal layoff will get the bonus. The use of purchased transportation has added protection for road work, but is still in.
The proposed contract extension will be voted by secret ballot this weekend – January 25-26 – at union meetings. We encourage all YRCW Teamsters to be there and cast a vote. The votes in each local will be counted immediately following the meeting. You can review the rules for the vote and counting ballots here.
Note that the Rules (see #1) state that “The company has committed to arrange work schedules so that drivers will be available to vote at their home Local Unions.” We encourage members to see that it is enforced. Note also that the Rules provide for observers of the entire process, from the start to the count, which will be immediately after the meeting, or last meeting. (see #4-15). Teamsters should consider volunteering to be observers. Note that “locals shall provide facilities for members to mark their ballots in secret” (see #10).
John Moses of Logistics Capital Management, IBT’s economic advisor on YRCW restructure, told the local officers at today’s meeting that the company will very likely declare bankruptcy if the tentative agreement is rejected, and that financing is contingent upon it passing.
The local union officers voted overwhelmingly to recommend it to the members, with several locals not voting, and several others voting No.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will publish a rule next week containing tough new penalties against carriers that ignore safety rules.
Under the Patterns of Safety Violations Rule, the agency will be able to shut down a truck or bus company with a history of violating federal safety regulations on purpose.
The rule is one of the new enforcement tools that the agency has developed in recent years to target high-risk carriers that endanger travelers by avoiding or covering up their negative history of safety compliance.
More details coming as soon as FMCSA publishes the new rule.