YRC Worldwide reached a tentative agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that both say will provide relief for the company as it faces declining demand.
Without releasing details of the agreement before a meeting of local leaders on Dec. 3, the union's negotiating team said the pact would protect the jobs and retirement security of tens of thousands of Teamsters. Approximately 40,000 Teamster drivers, dockworkers, clerical employees and others are actively employed at the companies.
Given earlier discussions between the two, that may mean the loss of some other thousands of jobs and lower pay for those remaining at Yellow Transportation, Roadway, Holland and New Penn. YRC estimated Nov. 10 that it would cut 3,750 jobs. Teamsters' National Freight Director Tyson Johnson signed off on the general outline of the plan in an Oct. 23 letter jointly signed with Bill Zollars, chairman, president and CEO of YRC Worldwide.
"The industry decline in volumes and pricing is continuing in the current quarter," Zollars said this week, "affecting our profits and cash flow and our ability to pay down debt from operating funds. The modification to the agreement, which we expect to be ratified in December, will establish a more competitive cost structure allowing us to accelerate our market share recovery and capitalize on opportunities for future growth, while at the same time, defending the long-term prospects and job security of our employees."
"This agreement will help the company get through this deepening recession and protect the jobs and health, welfare and pension benefits of our freight Teamsters," said Johnson. "This is a very difficult time for our members, but this agreement will protect the livelihoods of our members and their families, which is our number one priority."
"I believe our freight members understand the terrible economic conditions that are battering the trucking industry," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters general president. "We are facing the worst economic environment since the Great Depression. We all need to work together to get through this period of uncertainty. This agreement will help protect tens of thousands of our members' jobs. Failing to act now would be a grave mistake."