Letters submitted as evidence in court indicate the Teamsters union was willing to help ABF Freight System purchase struggling YRC Worldwide earlier this year.
"We are prepared to enter into discussions as soon as possible to address your interest in potentially acquiring YRCW," Teamsters General President James P. Hoffa said in an Aug. 13 letter to Arkansas Best President and CEO Judy R. McReynolds.
The letter, also signed by Teamsters Freight Division Director Tyson Johnson, said the union had assembled a group of senior Teamster officers, financial restructuring advisors, pension experts and corporate and labor law counsel to advise ABF.
"We extend this offer to fully understand the company's acquisition options as it sees them," Hoffa and Johnson said, requesting a meeting with ABF officials.
"Our intention in seeking this meeting is to explore the possibility of a negotiated term sheet with the company which may help facilitate a successful bid for YRCW."
The Aug. 13 letter and other documents were filed as part of the declaration of Teamster attorney James A. McCall in federal court in Arkansas, where the courtroom showdown between ABF, YRC and the Teamsters begins Dec. 16.
Judge Susan Webber Wright of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas will hear YRC's arguments for dismissing ABF's lawsuit next Thursday.
ABF filed its lawsuit against the Teamsters and YRC Nov. 1, claiming they violated the National Master Freight Agreement by negotiating concessions without ABF.
The prospect of an acquisition was raised again in an Oct. 26 letter from Hoffa and Johnson, as voting on the latest concession package at YRC came to a close.
"We are particularly interested in having a productive discussion with you regarding general conditions in the industry and about a potential acquisition of YRCW," the Teamster officials said in the second letter to McReynolds.
The letters don't say who first suggested ABF acquire YRC Worldwide to end an impasse over wage and pension concessions and alleged contract violations. On a company Web site, ABF claimed the union "pressured it" into considering a buyout of YRC as that company negotiated for a third round of labor concessions.
While the language of the letters doesn't necessarily imply any undue "pressure," it does show the union was willing to discuss and assist a potential takeover bid.
The letters also reveal mounting tension between the union and ABF after the company failed to win concessions from its Teamster employees in May.
Legal filings by ABF, the Teamsters and YRC in the lawsuit are available to download at abflegalaction.com, a Web site created by ABF.
-- Contact William B. Cassidy at email@example.com.