UPDATED: Freight Teamsters Are Making Their Voices Heard

June 24, 2009: Hundreds of freight Teamsters have contacted Teamsters for a Democratic Union to share their concerns and ideas about the proposed concessions with YRC. Below is just a sample of comments from freight Teamsters across the union.

Members are concerned and angry. They want to save YRC jobs and our Teamster foothold in freight. How to do that and still promote Teamster solidarity?

Freight Teamsters can be a force for change in our union. That starts when members talk Teamster-to-Teamster about what we can do to turn our union around.

What do you think? Click here to share your thoughts with Teamsters for a Democratic Union.

I check your website daily and have always found the site informative and accurate. I appreciate the questions being raised in our union about our direction.

How do we change the direction of the labor movement? Anyone can splat out problems and promises about how things could change. We need real leadership now. Can you deliver?

Nick Brandon Local 695, Wis. YRC

I’ve been a Teamster since 1989 and hadn’t heard of TDU until I found this website. I read the recent history of the IBT and learned about the corruption. TDU does great work to protect worker rights with the companies as well as the IBT.

Darrell Williams Jr. Local 592, Richmond, Va. YRC

A few weeks back YRC Teamsters from the Kansas City area were going to put up an informational picket at the headquarters in Overland Park. We were stopped dead in our tracks when we were threatened with firing. We got no support from our officers.

YRC worries about bad publicity—what about bad management??!

Franklin Rogers Local 41, Kansas City YRC

I work for UPS Freight and I don’t want to see YRC go under. UPS might gain more freight but since management is all about running around the union, it wouldn’t mean much for us working Teamsters.

It seems today the union can’t or won’t fight the old fashioned way with strikes or slowdowns. It seems like the leadership is afraid of something. Have labor laws really changed that much in the last twenty years? My dad retired out of the Teamsters in 1992. He knew Hoffa. When we talk about union issues now, he feels that the union has let me and a host of others down. What can we do other than join TDU?

If you want to learn more about your Teamster brothers and sisters at UPS Freight, check out www.upgfunited.net

Rick La Fever Local 710, Chicago UPS Freight

You have hit the nail on the head but can we get our union to demand these things?

Leon Atkins Local 385, Orlando, Fla. YRC

Very sound proposals. An honest company should not see a problem with any of them.

Terry Newton Local 631, California Retired

The first condition for any more concessions must be a union seat on the YRC Board of Directors and the right for that person to chair the executive compensation committee. This would lead to a lot more transparency and show real cooperation in finding a way forward for YRC.

Mike Perkins Local 662, LaCrosse, Wis. USF Holland

No Teamster is happy with deferring the pension payments but something has to be done to help keep YRC in business. But we need assurances that the money will be paid back and we will get credit for the 14 months.

There is something the company can do for us. They need to ease up on us. Our request for more time off or punching out after eight should be respected. With all the tension we’re under, we need some relief.

Ken Bohnert Local 600, St. Louis YRC

As long as management takes equal cuts and Smid, Zollars, and the like give up their bonuses to save the company, it’s all good.

Chet Manko Local 41, Kansas City YRC

I remember a Labor Day a few years back. Teamsters were gathered for family fun, amusement rides, and a great day until we heard the news about CF. Now Yellow-Roadway may be next.

Big Business has sold us out. We need leadership in our union. TDU is our only hope to make change.

Greg Mead Local 81, Portland, Ore. YRC

I saw a Get Smart re-run yesterday. The Chief told Max and 99, “I’m more afraid of upsetting the Teamsters than I am the President.” We need to get that edge and attitude back.

We need to organize a rally at YRC headquarters in Kansas City to demand the resignation of Bill Zollars. We need another one in D.C. at Teamster Headquarters to wake Hoffa up and show him real Teamster power. Maybe the 4th of July could be the day.

Rich Wallace Local 710, Chicago YRC

I’m a steward at YRC. I got my union book at sixteen and now I’m fifty. What do I do but hope YRC makes it?

Jay Ryan Local 641, New Jersey YRC

Why doesn’t YRC get rid of all the interline carriers and make more work for Teamsters?

Dan Schrader Local 118, Rochester, N.Y. New Penn

I'm retired now, but I've always said I would never work for Yellow Freight if it weren't for the benefits.

I worked out of Buffalo and the most of management were not on the "Team". They were nice when then needed a favor but so nasty to you if you needed one. I think the union should make sure management is taking the same cuts they want my Brothers and Sisters to take. YRC has the best drivers in the business so I think they have to get new management with a new and fresh approach for these tough times.

John Thom Local 449, Buffalo, N.Y. YRC (Retired)

Not one more dime from me until Zollars and his staff are fired. They get no golden parachutes or bonuses—just a pink slip. Hoffa and his staff also need to take a 25% cut in wages and benefits. Only then, will I accept this pension freeze.

Roy Shipler Local 579, Janesville, Wis. USF Holland

I’m laid off and need 22 additional work days to reach 30 years of contributions in the pension. If we must give in on these pension deferrals, there should be an option for Teamsters to buy time like there used to be. Consideration should be given to allow Teamsters to contribute on their own for the 14 months and get their credits.

James Harkness Local 79, Tampa, Fla. YRC

We need to do something about the 25% rule. It’s wrong that we have people working overtime when there are thousands on layoff. We need something done about forced overtime.

Doug Utech Local 554, Sioux City, Iowa YRC

All the conditions you guys are talking about are valid. Thanks for thinking of all us Teamsters low on the seniority board. We need all the members we can to be working and getting contributions paid in on our pensions and health and welfare. Thanks for the work TDU does.

Rick Butler Local 957, Dayton, Ohio YRC

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