Friday, December 08, 2006

Yellow to move trucking jobs to Tri State area

Ninety freight jobs that Yellow Transportation is cutting elsewhere are scheduled to move to its Tri-State facility in February, tripling the work force there.

The number of employees in State Line at the Maryland-Pennsylvania border would increase from about 45 to about 135 in February, a local union official said.

Yellow Transportation, which ships a variety of products, is trying to reduce transit times to compete better with nonunion companies, said Tom Krause, the secretary-treasurer and principle executive officer of Local 992 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Yellow Transportation's employees are among Local 992's approximately 1,100 Tri-State members, he said.

Washington County is attractive to distributors because it's where interstates 81 and 70 meet and it's not far from other major highways.

The company, which is based in Overland Park, Kan., referred questions to the New York City public relations firm of Linden Alschuler & Kaplan.

Nicole Mudloff, who works for the firm, said Thursday that she was unable to find anyone from Yellow Transportation to talk about the job shifts.

The changes aren't final yet. Krause said a "change of operations" committee of company and union representatives will meet in January to discuss the plan. If the committee approves it, it will go into effect on Feb. 25, he said.

Yellow Transportation's change of operations report, which The Herald-Mail reviewed, says the company will cut 199 pickup and delivery, long-haul driving and office jobs from sites across the country.

Lancaster, Pa., which would lose 126 jobs, would be by a wide margin the hardest hit.

All 199 jobs would move to other Yellow Transportation facilities. Eight additional jobs would be created, for a total of 207, the report says.

Krause said 65 pickup and delivery jobs and 25 long-haul driving jobs are scheduled to move to State Line. According to the company's change of operations report, that's by far the largest gain for any one place.

Krause said the State Line facility, an entirely union shop, currently has four long-haul drivers and about 40 local pickup and delivery workers.

With the influx of workers, the service center also would become a seven-day-a-week "break-bulk" center, he said.

He described "break-bulk" work as separating pallets of goods to fill orders for different customers.

Top scale at the State Line facility is about $21.60 an hour, he said.

Yellow Transportation employees from locations losing jobs will get the first chance to fill jobs that move to State Line. After that, unfilled positions will be advertised to the public.

Krause said employees new to the company start at 75 percent of top scale and reach top scale after two years.

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