About 1,500 drivers and dockworkers at New Penn, a YRC Worldwide Inc. regional carrier, rejected the concessions accepted by most YRC Teamsters members earlier this month.
A revote began last week. This time, declining to accept the revised contract that reduces wages 5 percent more could cost many New Penn employees their jobs, the union said.
New Penn is a regional less-than-truckload company that operates mainly in the Northeast. Its employees are covered by a contract separate from the national agreement most freight industry Teamsters work under. YRC’s biggest units, YRC Inc. and USF Holland, approved the cuts to the national contract, including allowing YRC to suspend monthly pension fund payments until January 2011.
In a letter to New Penn union workers last week, Teamsters national freight director Tyson Johnson said YRC requested an emergency meeting with the union’s national bargaining team after the vote count.
“During the Aug. 11 meeting, the company indicated that it plans to call for a change of operations in the near future to merge New Penn into YRCW,” Johnson said. “Because the merger could cost hundreds of Teamsters jobs, the majority of New Penn local unions have also requested a revote by New Penn members.”
Essentially, industry observers said New Penn would be closed if it were to merge with YRC’s other carriers, a prospect that most likely will change the vote’s outcome this time.
Members of three Teamsters locals in the Chicago area, also under their own contracts with YRC, also rejected the concessionary proposal. They most likely will also hold revotes facing the same prospect of job losses.
YRC said bargaining units representing less than 10 percent of the company’s union employees have not yet ratified the contract revisions.
“The company and the Teamsters are addressing employee concerns for these smaller bargaining units to reconsider the modifications,” YRC said. “The company has not filed any change of operations affecting the network status of New Penn.”
The mailed ballots for the New Penn revote are expected to be counted on Sept. 9.