Friday, May 15, 2009

UPS Looking at Bailout Impact

Extending TARP to trucking industry raises questions

Transportation giant UPS said it’s studying the issue of federal bailouts for financially ailing trucking companies but wouldn’t comment directly on competitor YRC Worldwide’s request for $1 billion in federal aid.

“The bottom line is, we don’t comment on the financial difficulties of our competitors,” said UPS spokesman Norman Black. On whether the treasury department program which has so far has sent money to the banking, automobile and insurance industries should be extended to the trucking industry, “we’re still looking at that,” Black said.

UPS paid $6.1 billion to unshackle itself from its own pension liability in 2007. Industry observers said at the time that allowing UPS to exit the pension plan, which covered 240,000 union parcel workers, was part of a quid pro quo with the Teamsters that gave the union an unhindered path toward organizing UPS Freight, the company’s less-than-truckload subsidiary, through a terminal-by-terminal card check agreement.

One Wall Street analyst wondered, “If YRC is allowed to get $1 billion from TARP, is UPS allowed to get a $5.1 billion refund?”

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