Saturday, January 26, 2008

2007 Saw First Increase in U.S. Union Membership in 25 Years

Last night the Bureau of Labor Statistics dropped some good news -- 2007 saw an increase in union membership in the United States, with 311,000 new workers joining together in unions. That's the first increase in at least 25 years (BLS has only been tracking this since 1983).

American Rights at Work rightly notes that nobody should be misled by this development into thinking that organizing in the U.S. has suddenly become easy. The system is still tilted sharply in favor of corporate interests, not least because of the anti-worker decisions of the Bush NLRB. Full Story....

Shake-up at YRC Worldwide expected

One of YRC Worldwide Inc.’s regional trucking companies may be closed or restructured when the Overland Park trucking giant on Monday discloses its 2008 plans, a prominent investment analyst said Friday.

Ed Wolfe, trucking analyst for Bear Stearns & Co., issued a report speculating that YRC executives may announce a shutdown of part of USF Reddaway’s operations.

Reddaway, which operates in 15 Western states and Canada, absorbed another YRC regional unit, USF Bestway, last year. Bestway operated mainly in the Southwest, and combining the two carriers has resulted in poorer service at Reddaway, Stearns wrote.

YRC’s biggest regional carrier is USF Holland, which operates in the Kansas City area.

A YRC spokeswoman could not be reached for comment Friday.

YRC has struggled mightily in the past year, blaming a softening economy that hit the trucking industry sooner than it did other sectors. The company will release its fourth-quarter and annual financial results on Monday as well.

Bill Zollars, YRC’s chairman and chief executive, announced earlier this month that YRC would take a pretax charge of up to $800 million, mainly due to the declining value of its regional trucking companies. Earnings for the quarter and full year will be disappointing, Zollars cautioned.

Analysts like Wolfe also believe YRC’s two big acquisitions this decade — Roadway Corp. and USF Corp. — haven’t gone as well as expected. He said that could result in a big shake-up come Monday.

“YRCW could announce a major restructuring, further write-downs and a plan for further cost-savings going forward,” Wolfe said in his report. “There is little evidence of YRCW’s supposed cost-savings related to the Roadway and USF mergers at this point.”

YRC’s two national carriers, Yellow Transportation and Roadway, may also be affected, according to Wolfe. Those subsidiaries may merge some operations by consolidating terminals in the same city or integrating sales and office functions, Wolfe said.

YRC is trying to wring $100 million in costs out of the entire company, including recently discontinuing its NASCAR sponsorship.

Zollars and other YRC executives are also expected to discuss Monday the impact of the tentative five-year contract with the Teamsters union, which is being voted on by YRC drivers and dockworkers. Reddaway is not a union carrier, although the Teamsters are in an organizing drive.

After plunging to a low of $12.62 a share on Jan. 4, YRC’s stock has jumped 49 percent. The stock closed at $18.86 a share on Friday.

Wolfe said he believes YRC’s stock has risen and outperformed the trucking sector as a whole due to short traders taking profits amid the Fed’s actions to spark the economy. Trucking companies, affected early in economic cycles, are also popular among investors who believe business conditions will improve later this year.

Friday, January 25, 2008

DHL: U.S. Withdrawal 'Completely Ruled Out'

Deutsche Post World Net said Friday it is not withdrawing from the United States express market but the company refused to comment on reports that it is in talks to sell part of the DHL Americas business to FedEx.

The DHL parent released a statement from Chief Financial Officer John Allan saying "there can be no question of exiting the U.S. business. Any options which include a withdrawal can be completely ruled out."

Allan made the statement after the newspaper Financial Times Deutschland published a story citing an unnamed source that DPWN is in talks with FedEx to sell assets in the United States to FedEx.

DHL has piled up billions of dollars in losses in the United States over five years in its bid to mount a competitive challenge to FedEx and UPS in the world's largest express parcel market. Analysts are projecting the company will lose $900 million in North America this year and several prominent investment houses recently called for DHL to withdraw from the market.

Allan said in his statement the company will "retain a significant presence" in the United States but that it also must "reduce the level of operating losses." Allan said there are "a large number of ways in which we can achieve that."

But Allan said the company would not comment on what he called the "speculation" on DHL's plans.

The newspaper report quotes a manager within the company as saying that Deutsche Post CEO Klaus Zumwinkel "wants to leave the company in a clean condition" when he retires in November.

The report follows DPWN's announcement this week that it will take an $874 million writedown of the company's assets in the United States. The action on the balance would effectively lower the price for the business in a potential sale, financial analysts said.

UPS Freight Workers in Kentucky Sign Cards to Become Teamsters

An overwhelming majority of about 300 workers at the UPS Freight (formerly Overnite Transportation) terminals in Louisville and Lexington, in Kentucky, have signed authorization cards to become Teamsters, bringing the total number of drivers and dockworkers seeking to join the union to about 2,500 since last week, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced.

"As more and more cards are submitted to the arbitrator for certification, more and more workers are on their way to a more secure future at UPS Freight," Hoffa said.

"Our goal is to organize 12,600 drivers and dockworkers at UPS Freight, and just two weeks into the campaign the majority of 20 percent of the workers have taken the step forward to win a strong voice at work," said Ken Hall, Director of the Teamsters Package Division.

The Louisville workers are seeking to join Local 89, while the Lexington workers are seeking to join Local 651.

"Once the workers are certified as Teamsters, I look forward to negotiating a strong contract that protects their interests," said Fred Zuckerman, President of Louisville-based Local 89.

"I want to thank all the UPS Freight workers, our organizers and Vice President Ken Hall for all their help in this campaign," said John Roush, President of Lexington-based Local 651.

In addition to the workers in Louisville and Lexington, a majority of UPS Freight workers in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Southern California, Oakland, Seattle, New England, Memphis and Detroit have submitted cards to become Teamsters.

Deutsche Post Rises on Report It May Sell U.S. Unit

Deutsche Post AG, Europe's biggest mail carrier, rose as much as 5.9 percent in German trading after Financial Times Deutschland said it may sell the unprofitable U.S. package and express-delivery unit to FedEx Corp.

Deutsche Post shares advanced as much as 1.27 euros to 22.70 euros and were up 3.9 percent at 12:15 p.m. in Frankfurt.

Bonn-based Deutsche Post may sell the U.S. delivery operation to FedEx and seek a merger partner for the Deutsche Postbank unit later this year, the German financial daily said today, citing unidentified company officials.

Deutsche Post spokeswoman Silje Skogstad declined to comment on plans for the U.S. DHL unit and said the company is evaluating several options to improve earnings. Regarding Deutsche Postbank, she referred to earlier comments by Chief Executive Officer Klaus Zumwinkel, who said the company is currently the lender's most suitable owner.

``Elimination of these losses will provide a material boost to earnings,'' London-based Collins Stewart analyst Andrew Fitchie said in a note to investors. ``The clear message from the group is that restructuring is definitely under way, at long last.''

Deutsche Post will write down the value of the DHL Express Americas division by 600 million euros ($874 million), the company said Jan. 23. Chief Financial Officer John Allan said yesterday that the company would reveal details of a turnaround plan for the U.S. business in a ``small number of months.''

The German company planned for DHL to break even in the Americas by 2009 and scrapped the deadline last year. The postal service bought the business in 2002 to compete with Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc. and Memphis, Tennessee-based FedEx in their home market.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Workers in Minneapolis and Milwaukee Sign Cards to Join Teamsters at UPS Freight

An Overwhelming Majority of Workers Seek To Join Locals 120, 200

An overwhelming majority of about 160 workers at the UPS Freight (formerly Overnite Transportation) terminals in Milwaukee and in Minneapolis have signed authorization cards to become Teamsters, bringing the total number of drivers and dockworkers seeking to join the union to nearly 2,200 since last week, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced.

“The Milwaukee and Minneapolis workers have joined their brothers and sisters across the country in seeking to win the protections provided in a Teamster contract,” Hoffa said.

The Milwaukee workers are seeking to join Local 200 in that city. The Minneapolis-area workers are employed at a terminal in Blaine, Minnesota, and are seeking to join Local 120 in St. Paul.

“Most of the workers here in Milwaukee have worked for UPS Freight and its predecessor, Overnite, for a long time. They have been involved in the struggle to become Teamsters for many years, and soon their goal will be realized,” said Tom Millonzi, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 200.

“I am proud of the workers for seeing the value of joining the Teamsters. As Teamsters, they will be able to negotiate a strong contract that will protect them and their families now and into the future,” said Brad Slawson Sr., Secretary-Treasurer of Local 120.

In addition to the workers in Milwaukee and Minneapolis, a majority of workers in Southern California, Oakland, Seattle, New England, Memphis and Detroit have submitted cards to become Teamsters.

“With each new worker victory, I continue to hear about more workers seeking a brighter future as Teamsters,” said Ken Hall, Director of the Teamsters Package Division. “We won’t stop until all UPS Freight workers have a chance to fight for a more secure future for themselves and for their families.”

Teamsters Say Stimulus Package Must Help Unemployed, Add Jobs

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa today said any short-term plan to stimulate the economy should aim to protect people who have jobs and to help those who don’t.

He supports an extension and increase in unemployment benefits, spending on infrastructure and federal aid to cities and states.

Hoffa also said Americans also need long-term solutions to strengthen the economy.

“Good jobs at good wages are the best way to put money in people’s pockets,” Hoffa said. “If we’re serious about fixing our economic problems, we need to fix these so-called free-trade policies that send good American jobs to China and Mexico.”

For the immediate future, Hoffa said the unemployment system must be strengthened. “It’s the right thing to do,” Hoffa said. “And people who don’t have jobs will spend that money immediately.”

He also urges Congress to send financial help to state and local governments, which are feeling the pinch of the mortgage crisis as families are losing their homes.

“With property values falling, state and local governments will be forced to lay off police officers, teachers, bus drivers and prison guards,” Hoffa said. “Aid to cities and states will keep those employees working and spending money. We must also find ways to keep people in their homes if they’ve been victims of predatory lending.”

He supports more spending to fix America’s crumbling roads and bridges. “Fixing our infrastructure is long overdue,” he said. “A real commitment to repairing our roads and bridges will create jobs and make it more efficient to move goods.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

USF Holland Opens New Service Center in Youngstown, OH


USF Holland, a subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc. announced the opening of a new service center in Youngstown, OH. The regional less-than-truckload provider held groundbreaking ceremonies today at the new service center, marking the first day of business.

“We continue to invest heavily in the infrastructure necessary to support and improve service to our customers and we’re thrilled to further expand in Ohio,” commented John O’Sullivan, President of USF Holland. This is an important area for our customers and this new facility will substantially increase capacity, operating efficiency, and equipment availability within the market.” The brand new state of the art Youngstown service center is located at 10855 Market St., North Lima, OH and will boast sixty-five doors.

Teamsters at YRC debate offer

Mail ballots on a proposed new contract have reached the hands of nearly 50,000 YRC Worldwide Inc. employees, and supporters and opponents of the pact are making their cases as voting proceeds.

The Teamsters’ national freight negotiating committee last month reached the tentative five-year agreement, and more than 300 Teamsters local officers reviewing the contract overwhelmingly approved it at a Jan. 8 meeting.

In a letter to rank-and-file Teamsters members last week, the bargaining committee stated that about two-thirds of all customers in the trucking industry renew service contracts at year’s end, which gave the union’s negotiators strong leverage to get the best deal possible. The current contract doesn’t expire until March 31.

“The trucking industry is facing difficult economic conditions,” said the letter signed by Teamsters general president Jim Hoffa and Tyson Johnson, leader of the union’s freight division. “About 4,000 Teamsters are on layoff, and economists predict tough times for the industry in the foreseeable future. … Despite these challenges, the (negotiating committee) was able to win significant economic gains for members contained in the tentative agreement.”

The proposed agreement provides a pay raise of $2.20 an hour over the life of the contract, including 50 cents an hour in the first year. For long-haul drivers, the pay would increase 5.5 cents a mile over the five-year pact. Hourly wage rates will exceed $24 by the end of the contract in most parts of the country, according to the Teamsters.

The Teamsters also were able to get YRC to agree to increase pension and health insurance contributions by $5 an hour over the life of the agreement.

There are also proposals in the new contract some union members view as too concessionary, however, including the creation of a “utility employee” for shorter freight hauls.

The utility employee, who will be paid $1 an hour more than local drivers, will give management more flexibility and “will allow companies to compete better in the less than 1,000 markets of next-day and second-day delivery where there’s more growth,” Jim Roberts, president of Trucking Management Inc., told Transport Topics last week.

“It allows the companies to get away from the traditional hub-and-spoke system under which they currently operate.”

Trucking Management is the labor-bargaining arm for YRC.

USF Holland introduces new U.S-Canada service

YRC Worldwide Inc. operating unit USF Holland said this week it has rolled out a new guaranteed service to and from Canada.

The company said that all guaranteed and expedited services for this effort are backed by the USF Holland no-hassle, claim-free guarantee to be on-time and intact or no invoice will be sent to a shipper.

And USF Holland also claimed that it is the first regional less-than-truckload (LTL) provider to offer time-specific Guaranteed Delivery before 3:30 p.m. between the US and Canada. Service by noon and by 9:00, now offered within the U.S. domestic system of USF Holland, will be offered

“We have experienced an increased volume of shipping to and from Canada,” said John O’Sullivan, President of USF Holland, in a statement. “For shipments crossing the border, there is an increased need for speed and precision just as we have seen for domestic U.S. shipments. We are committed to matching the needs of our growing customer base. As such, USF Holland has tuned the process for shipments crossing the border so that our customers will receive the same speed, reliability and damage-free services provided elsewhere in our system.”

Majority of 750 UPS Freight Workers Sign Cards to Join Union in S. California

An overwhelming majority of more than 750 workers at four UPS Freight (formerly Overnite Transportation) terminals in Southern California have signed authorization cards to become Teamsters, bringing the total number of drivers and dockworkers seeking to join the union to 2,000 since last week, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced.

"In just a week, the majority of 2,000 UPS Freight workers have submitted cards to become Teamsters. The workers are on their way to having a more secure future," Hoffa said.

The Southern California workers are employed at terminals in Los Angeles, Fontana, Commerce and Rialto, and are seeking to join Local 63 in Covina.

"We have been in contact with the UPS Freight workers for quite some time, and there is tremendous enthusiasm here in Southern California," said Randy Cammack, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 63 and an International Union Vice President. "These soon-to-be members are looking forward to a strong Teamster contract and all the protections the contract will provide."

In addition to the workers in Southern California, a majority of workers in Oakland, Seattle, New England, Memphis and Detroit have submitted cards to become Teamsters.

"The Southern California workers' fight for a brighter future gives us continued momentum to help thousands more UPS Freight workers achieve their goal of becoming Teamsters," said Ken Hall, Director of the Teamsters Package Division.

YRC Worldwide Reschedules Fourth Quarter 2007 Earnings Call

YRC Worldwide Inc. has rescheduled its review of fourth quarter 2007 results to coincide with its previously announced analyst meeting to be held on Monday, January 28, 2008, at 2:00pm ET at The Waldorf-Astoria, 301 Park Avenue, New York, NY. Fourth quarter and full-year earnings will be released before market on Monday, January 28, 2008. At the meeting, Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and CEO, YRC Worldwide; Mike Smid, President, YRC North American Transportation; and Stephen Bruffett, Executive Vice President and CFO, YRC Worldwide, will address numerous topics including:

Fourth quarter and full-year 2007 results
Update of the financial strength of the company
Overview of the tentative 5-year labor agreement with the International
Brotherhood of Teamsters
Summary of actions planned for 2008

For those attending the meeting, no advance registration is necessary. For those not attending, the meeting will be available in listen-only mode by dialing 1.888.609.3912 or via and the YRC Worldwide Internet site Following the management presentation, there will be a broadcast Q&A session in which questions will be taken from those in attendance.

An audio playback will be available after the call via the StreetEvents and YRC Worldwide web sites.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

UPS Freight Workers in Oakland and Seattle Sign Cards to Become Teamsters

An Overwhelming Majority of Workers Sign Cards To Join Locals 70, 174

An overwhelming majority of workers at the UPS Freight (formerly Overnite Transportation) terminals in the Oakland, California and Seattle, Washington areas have signed authorization cards to become Teamsters. About 300 drivers and dockworkers are employed at the terminals, bringing the total number of UPS Freight workers who have submitted cards to more than 1,100 since last week, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced.

“Now more than 1,100 workers at UPS Freight have taken the step to a more secure future,” Hoffa said. “The momentum is moving this campaign forward fast.”

The Oakland-area workers are employed at a terminal in San Leandro, California and are seeking to join Local 70 in Oakland. The Seattle-area workers are employed at terminals in Tukwila and in Kent, both in Washington, and seek to join Local 174 in Seattle.

“The workers here in the Oakland area are very eager to become Teamsters—we gathered a majority of cards in just four days,” said Chuck Mack, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 70 and a Teamsters International Vice President. “This campaign is a successful collaboration between our local union, the Joint Council and the International Union.”

“In recent years, we have fallen behind in this industry, so it’s great to see UPS Freight workers joining the Teamsters to gain the job security, fair pay and excellent benefits they deserve,” said Rick Hicks, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 174.

In addition to the workers in Oakland and Seattle, a majority of 833 workers in New England, Memphis and Detroit have submitted cards to become Teamsters.

“With the cards submitted by the Oakland and Seattle workers, we have surpassed the 1,000 milestone, and we will continue to help UPS Freight workers fight for a brighter future,” said Ken Hall, Director of the Teamsters Package Division.

Teamsters/DHL National Negotiations News

Regional Supplements Being Completed, Economic Negotiations To Begin in February

The Teamsters national negotiating committee and DHL have resumed negotiations this month for the DHL National Master Agreement. Discussions have focused on wrapping up the various regional supplements and riders as well as the open national issues. These discussions will continue until negotiations for the major economic issues—wages, health insurance and pensions for each of the four major national operating supplements—begin in mid-February.

“Since framing the national agreement in October, our focus has been for local unions to negotiate their riders so we can begin the economics at a national level,” said Brad Slawson Sr., chair of the Teamsters national committee. “Combining these many types of different agreements and operations into a single master agreement isn’t easy but we’re making steady progress. We anticipate all of the regional and local union riders will be completed by the time we begin negotiations over economics in mid-February.”

The new DHL National Master Agreement will cover DHL workers at all local unions covered under the National Master Freight Agreement (NMFA) and workers at a number of local unions that previously negotiated stand-alone “white paper” agreements.

The January negotiations took place amid speculation created by two large brokerage houses, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns, recommending that Deutsche Post World Net—DHL’s parent company—scale back its U.S.-based operations due to large financial losses. When pressed on the future of the U.S. operations by the Teamsters national negotiating committee, DHL management commented that there is no plan to withdraw from the U.S. but there is immense pressure on them to turn around operations in this country.

“It’s difficult enough putting together a national agreement of this size. When you add the operational issues facing DHL since it purchased Airborne it adds an entire new dimension,” Slawson said. “But make no mistake: we are absolutely committed to making sure members’ interests are represented.”

Agreements on Non-Economic Provisions

Last year, the Teamsters national negotiating committee and DHL agreed to non-economic provisions of the DHL National Master Agreement and the national operating supplements: pick-up and delivery, clerical, gateway, and hub operations.

The tentative national language for the pick-up-and-delivery and clerical agreements largely reflects the relevant Articles (1-39) of the National Master Freight Agreement. The existing contracts covering gateways and hubs were used as the template for those operational supplements.

The Teamster bargaining committee will update members as they work through this historic process. Please continue to look for bargaining updates and information about voting on this new, historic agreement at