YRC Uses New Deal to Slash Chicago Jobs

Updated November 22, 2010: YRC local management wasted no time abusing the newly ratified agreement at the barns. At Chicago Heights, they laid off some 50 Local 705 drivers. These include Teamsters who shuttle trailers to the rail yard: now the company claims they can have road drivers do the shuttle work en route.

Chicago drivers are up in arms over this betrayal. They see it as corporate revenge because Local 705 members have been a center of resistance to YRC managements’ attacks on the union.

Layoffs are disproportionately hitting this terminal, as the company diverts their work. What good is an International union leadership which allows one terminal or group to be sacrificed – with no solidarity.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allows “one pick up or delivery” by a road driver – it does not say anything about rail shuttle work.

Similar management moves against jobs and conditions are coming down at many terminals.

YRC Teamsters in every terminal, in every local, need to form a united movement to demand contract enforcement.

Most of the rank and file voted for the agreement because they want the company to survive. But do not want all their rights as Teamsters stripped away. And they want the International Union to quit being YRC’s door mat and defend Teamster rights.

Why did we vote to save our jobs and our union if the company can destroy jobs at will and walk on our union, with the International union standing by.

At the Copley Ohio breakbulk, a strong pushback from members and Local 24 helped to stop unilateral changes, at least for now and got a steward reinstated who was fired on a bogus claim of initiating a work stoppage.

Normally contract changes as big as those in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) would be implemented with the agreement of the union. But management is using the MOU as an excuse to do whatever they want.

A big sticking point with Copley Teamsters was that management moved to immediately eliminate all the straight eight hour bids, and would eliminate seniority with respect to yard work.

These changes differed from what management told Teamsters earlier, when they were campaigning for a Yes vote on the MOU.

Management expected a grievance but they got a united bunch of Teamsters. Local 24 fired off an angry letter to the IBT Freight Division, requesting help to block it. “This shameful deceit of members must not stand,” the letter insisted.

Local 24 officials told stewards on November 5 that word came down that if the company instituted the changes unilaterally, a work stoppage may result. When a steward discussed this report with the rank and file, management fired him.

The resulting firestorm led to his reinstatement and put a hold on the company’s unilateral changes in working conditions. But at this point there is no settlement in writing, and the steward has to grieve for six days of lost wages.

Chicago, Copley, Tampa, Kansas City… the attack is coming down everywhere. The International is not going to lift a finger unless members and locals demand action.

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