The International Brotherhood of Teamsters blasted YRC Worldwide’s recent attempt to open acquisition talks with Arkansas Best, charging the less-than-truckload carrier with “interference in the collective bargaining process.”
The Teamsters union called the preliminary proposal YRC confirmed it made in March to acquire $2.1 billion Arkansas Best an “unconscionable” “secret effort” to acquire ABF Freight System and “an affront” to employees of both companies.
“Before YRC begins looking for acquisition targets they should first restore our members’ wages and pension contributions,” the international union said in a statement. “We want to give credit to ABF for rejecting this gambit.”
ABF and the Teamsters reached a tentative agreement on a new multi-year contract May 3. Details of the contract have not been released, but the company pressed hard for wage and benefits concessions that would make it more competitive.
At the time YRC made its preliminary proposal, ABF was approaching a March 31 contract deadline. The current contract was later extended, twice, and talks continued. Arkansas Best said it rejected YRC’s proposal in April.
“It is unconscionable that in the middle of the IBT’s sensitive negotiations for a new contract with 6,000 ABF Teamsters, and in the context of years of continuing sacrifice by our members at YRC, that YRC would advance a secret effort to acquire ABF’s freight division,” the Teamsters union said in a statement.
“We will now demand from YRC a full accounting of the calculations and decisions that went into their latest misstep,” the union said.
In an interview, YRC Worldwide CEO James Welch said a combination of $3.2 billion YRC Freight and $1.7 billion ABF Freight System would create a more profitable less-than-truckload company with greater shipment and lane density.
“We think taking two good companies and making a more valuable, profitable single company is good for employees over time,” Welch said.
YRC Worldwide is No. 4 in JOC’s ranking of the Top 50 Trucking Companies for 2012, and Arkansas Best comes in at No. 11. YRC Freight and ABF Freight System are No. 3 and No. 6, respectively, in JOC’s ranking of the Top 25 LTL Carriers for 2012.