YRC Worldwide delays financial report amid labor talks

Mark Davis
The Kansas City Star
November 07, 2013

YRC Worldwide Inc., saying it intends to negotiate an extended labor contract with the Teamsters union, has delayed release of its quarterly financial report.

The third-quarter financial report originally scheduled for Thursday has been pushed back to Tuesday of next week, a company statement said. The statement, released late Wednesday, did not indicate why a delay was needed.

The Overland Park-based trucking company said it intends to “engage in formal negotiations, extend its current contract (with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) and increase its competitiveness in the market.”

Chief executive James Welch said in the statement that an extension would help secure jobs of the company’s 26,000 union employees and “substantially increase the likelihood” of refinancing the company’s debts.

Welch, in a letter to employees Oct. 30, said a new Teamsters contract was necessary before lenders would negotiate a refinancing. YRC has more than $1 billion in debts due in 2014 and 2015.

YRC’s announcement said “these developments” led it to postpone its earnings release.

The Teamsters have surrendered pay and benefits under their agreement with the company that expires at the end of March 2015. Their concessions helped the company avoid bankruptcy through two financial reorganizations. But with the economy still sluggish, YRC continues to struggle to return to financial health.

Company executives met in Dallas this week with more than 100 Teamsters officials, including Vic Terranella, president of Local 41 in Kansas City.

Terranella said the company didn’t talk about contract proposals but did say it wants a five-year agreement. He said a YRC official told the union representatives that the new deal would need to address absenteeism issues and profit sharing.

They also said, according to Terranella, that the new agreement would need to take effect immediately after approval rather than after the current contract expires.

The request adds to earlier suggestions that YRC may ask for additional concessions from the union rather than an extension of their current terms. Welch’s letter to employees had said the new contract would need to increase the company’s competitiveness, but it did not specify how.

YRC shares fell 71 cents Wednesday and closed at $10.13. The shares had jumped 28 percent Tuesday on reports that the company plans to ask for more concessions from employees.

 

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