YRC Bargaining to Resume Wednesday

July 6, 2009: The IBT and YRC will continue talks on Wednesday, July 8, when they consider a proposal to temporarily terminate YRC participation in Teamster pension plans for about 14 months.

The goal is to help restore YRC to profitability.

Temporary termination is slightly different from the pension deferral plan initially offered by the union; in this proposal, there would be no obligation on the part of YRC to repay the missing contributions. Teamsters would not accrue pension credit during that period.

YRC’s banks would look more favorably on extending a line of credit if YRC is not incurring more debt, in the form of an obligation to pay back some 14 months of pension contributions, about $500 million. The International Union is asking that YRC line up more bank financing, in addition to the $500 million they are asking Teamsters to give up. The union also demands a guarantee that YRC fully return to the pension plans. Click here to read coverage of this story in the Kansas City Business Journal.

Both YRC and the International union are trying to speed the process along, and put it to a vote of affected Teamsters in July. So an announcement could come as soon as next week.

Job Protection

We urge the International Union leaders to put another issue on the table: protecting good union jobs and the health of our union in trucking.

Considering the extent of monetary concessions under consideration, and the 10% wage cut already given, shouldn’t our union be able to bargain some low-cost job security provisions and protections for working Teamsters? At a minimum:

  • All concessions should have a provision to phase-out when the company becomes profitable; the contract should have a reopener to ensure that this is enforced.

  • YRC should be prohibited from assigning freight to Glen Moore or diverting freight to YRC Logistics. All YRC freight should be hauled by YRC Teamsters. Right now, we’re giving concessions while YRC builds its nonunion divisions….. can you say “ConWay?”
  • No employee should be forced to work over 40 hours per week. Let senior employees who want to, pass some work to laid off Teamsters.
  • Extend recall rights for laid off Teamsters to 10 years. A no-cost item.
  • Grant card-check for nonunion units at YRC terminals. At some terminals, the offices went nonunion when Roadway and Yellow integrated; why should we hand our members a 10% cut then allow their union to be busted?
  • Put on the table the question of YRC holdings in China. Are we struggling to save Zollars’ global toys?
  • Ensure management is a reliable and honest bargaining partner, which it has not been so far with Zollars in the driver’s seat. The union got full access to company records for the union’s financial consultant; that access should continue as long as any concessions are in place. Also, insist on trimming the fat in management.

Many of these are no-cost items; some could even realize money, such as possibly selling Zollars’ Chinese acquisitions (YRCW paid $45 million in 2005 for JHJ International, and then another $45 million for Shanghai Jiayu Logistics just nine months ago.) Some, like letting Teamsters forgo some overtime to put more Teamsters to work, may cost the company, but only peanuts compared to the billion dollar concessions in the pension deferral and wage cut.

If protecting YRC freight as union work and passing a little work to our laid off Teamsters are deal-breakers, then what the hell are we fighting to save?

Working Teamsters are doing our part to help save freight jobs and an important Teamster presence in trucking. Our negotiators should be at the table bargaining some protections. That’s the point of being union.

Looking to the future, we need an IBT plan for rebuilding our union in the freight industry—something freight Teamsters have never gotten from the Hoffa administration. Click here to read more.

Click here to let us know what you think about these proposals, or add your ideas on what our union should put forward.

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