YRC Worldwide management is seeking to cut Teamsters wages as it tries to arrange new financing to pay off debt.
The Teamsters union said it has been in talks for several weeks over givebacks on the National Master Freight Agreement, the labor contract that was renewed earlier this year.
"The Teamsters General Executive Board today unanimously agreed to permit representatives from the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee to enter into discussions with YRC immediately to determine how to best preserve Teamsters jobs and protect benefits," the Teamsters said in a Nov. 24 statement.
Officials at YRC, the parent of national LTL carriers Yellow Transportation and Roadway Express, were not immediately available for comment.
YRC was forced last week to place its trucking equipment real estate holdings valued at $1.5 billion up as collateral against its bank loans as a result of its recent credit downgrade.
Standard & Poor's dropped its rating of the LTL carrier into a lower grade of junk bond status Nov. 19 after assessing the carriers' financial and operating prospects in the slowing economy. That triggered an event under its credit agreement requiring YRC to collateralize its remaining unencumbered assets.
YRC said the downgrades don't change the company's plans to combine Yellow and Roadway.