National less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier YRC Worldwide Inc. has cleared another hurdle on its path to refinancing its debt load as leadership at the local Teamster unions representing YRC workers have recommended the previously announced tentative agreement. The next step in the process is for the agreement to be sent to the rank-and-file membership for a vote.
YRC earlier had negotiated a $300 million debt reduction with its lenders and investors; however, that deal was contingent on the Teamsters agreeing to a contract extension, which was soundly rejected.
According to a statement released by the Teamsters, the new agreement includes a number of provisions that they characterize as “significant improvements” over YRC’s previous proposal:
• Employees on seasonal layoff will be eligible for a lump sum bonus;
• The proposed wage freeze for current non-CDL employees has been eliminated;
• The starting rate for non-CDL new hires has been increased with a $1.00/hour annual progression;
• Employees will keep all of the vacation weeks they have earned and it will be paid at 45 hours/week by the end of the agreement;
• The proposal regarding the use of Utility Employees has been eliminated, and
• Restrictions on the use of purchased transportation have been specified and protections for members at affected terminals have been improved.
Voting on the tentative agreement will take place at union halls this coming weekend, according to Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters National Freight Division and co-chairman of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC).
“No one wants concessions, but with a ‘yes’ vote at least we live to see another day,” explains Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president and TNFINC co-chairman. For that reason, he is urging YRC’s Teamster employees to vote for the tentative agreement.
Commenting on the urgency of the agreement being approved, James Welch, CEO of YRC, points out that the outcome of these labor discussions “is critical to the future of the company.” The tentative agreement, he believes, “is something our employees can have confidence is the best—and only remaining—path forward.”