Saturday, August 23, 2008

DHL to Close Boise Call Center

The DHL Express call center in Boise is expected to close its doors in two months.

The call center announced the closure today which is planned for October 24th.

It will result in the loss of 90 customer service representatives along with about 15 management positions.

The employees are members of Teamsters Local Union 483.

Mark Briggs is secretary and treasurer of the union. He says the international shipping business has lost billions of dollars over the last five years and the closure is part of its restructuring plan.

He adds that two other DHL call centers in New York have also been closed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hedge fund managed by billionaire buys 5 percent of YRC Worldwide

A multibillion-dollar hedge fund managed by one of the country's richest men has bought 5 percent of YRC Worldwide Inc., according to a regulatory filing.
Affiliates of Tontine Associates, led by Jeffrey Gendell, now own 2.97 million shares of YRC common stock, or 5.2 percent of the Overland Park-based trucking giant.

The Tontine filing did not disclose the amount spent for the stock. However, the document said the event occurred Aug. 1, when YRC closed at $16.26 a share. A purchase of all the shares by Tontine Capital at that closing price would equal more than $48 million.

"Gendell's specialty is picking a macro-styled theme, buying very large positions in companies that benefit from that theme, and then working with or pressuring management to improve shareholder returns," according to

Gendell is described in various publications as a low-profile billionaire who started the fund in 1997, posting spectacular returns and becoming among the country's richest people in Forbes magazine's annual listing.

Gendell's position was disclosed in a filing earlier this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. His Greenwich, Conn., office did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

A call to a YRC spokeswoman Thursday was not returned.

Gendell is best known for buying homebuilders in 2003 and steel companies in 2005. According to Thomson Financial, he has a history of investing in "struggling firms with recent woes, or unglamorous firms that are ignored by the majority of investors as long as their prices are appropriately depressed."

YRC seems to be a fit for Gendell's type of investing, given the transportation company's troubles since early 2007.

The company was hit early by the headwinds that slowed the U.S. economy. Losses mounted at the end of last year and early this year as YRC struggled to make its regional trucking firms operationally efficient and profitable.

YRC returned to profitability in the second quarter, but many analysts think the road back to solid financial footing remains a long one. YRC's stock traded as high as $46.60 in February 2007 and closed Thursday at $17.48 a share.

YRC also has had some high-profile turnover among senior executives, most recently losing the services of chief financial officer Stephen Bruffett, who took a job last week with a rival trucker. Bruffett was replaced on an interim basis by Paul Liljegren, YRC's corporate controller and chief accounting officer.

YRC chairman and chief executive officer Bill Zollars said the company would conduct an internal and external search for a successor to Bruffett.

"I don't think the investment community read it as a positive sign when a well-respected CFO decided to leave YRC," Jason Seidl, equity research director at Dahlman Rose & Co., said earlier this week.

Gendell also has made big investments recently in other struggling companies in the region. Earlier this year, he spent more than $11 million to acquire an 8.6 percent stake in Thermadyne Holdings Corp., a struggling producer of metal-cutting and welding equipment based in Chesterfield, Mo.

Gendell also bought more than 400,000 shares of TierOne Corp., a Lincoln, Neb., bank that has lost nearly $100 million in the past four quarters.

Gendell, among other things, is a donor to Duke University and a part-owner of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

YRC Worldwide acquires Shanghai Jiayu Logistics

YRC Worldwide, a provider of less-than-truckload transportation services, has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary YRC Logistics has successfully closed its acquisition of Shanghai Jiayu Logistics, a provider of truckload and less-than-truckload ground transportation services in China.

With over 30,000 customers, 1,800 employees, 200 locations and a network of more than 3,000 vehicles, Jiayu is expected to provide an ideal platform for YRC Worldwide to support the needs of both local Chinese customers and large multinational companies with transportation requirements in China.

YRC Logistics acquired 65% of the stock of Jiayu for $44.7 million. YRC Logistics expects to purchase the remaining 35% interest in 2010, for an amount not to exceed $39 million, as determined by the level of Jiayu's 2008-09 financial performance.

Jim Ritchie, president and CEO of YRC Logistics, said: "Since entering into the agreement with Jiayu in December 2007, we have seen strong customer interest, and we believe the comprehensive services have a tremendous appeal to the China market and to our customers based in the US."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

ABF Celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week

ABF Freight System Inc. is celebrating the 13th Annual National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, August 24-30, 2008, with a system-wide campaign called: "ABF Employees. Standing the Test of Time. 1923-2008." The campaign highlights the integral role played by transportation industry employees in supporting the North American economy.

"This campaign recognizes the professional drivers of ABF as well as the valuable contribution of all employees," said ABF President and Chief Operating Officer Wes Kemp. "ABF people have earned a reputation as the safest, most conscientious, highly innovative members of our industry. We commend and sincerely thank our employees across North America for their contributions to the continued success of our company."

During the campaign, each ABF employee receives a special letter of appreciation and has the opportunity to win an HDTV, GPS unit, or Maglite flashlight in a special drawing in their honor. ABF service centers host special events such as cookouts and other forms of recognition. ABF also recognizes outstanding performance by its employees, particularly professional drivers, throughout the year. Ongoing ABF training and incentive programs for professional drivers are designed to help truckers maintain the highest standards of professionalism and become ambassadors for promoting safety and increasing public appreciation for the trucking industry.

The annual campaign immediately follows the National Truck Driving Championships being held in Houston, Texas. The American Trucking Associations sponsors this safe-driving event. Drivers across the ABF system competed in state driving competitions, with 19 of those drivers taking first place and earning the right to compete in this year's national championships. In fact, the ABF driving team includes five former national champions, four state grand champions and seven repeat champions from 2007.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Than 1,700 UPS Freight Workers Vote to Ratify Contract

Teamsters Now Represent More Than 11,600 Workers Since January

A first-contract covering more than 1,700 UPS Freight drivers and dockworkers nationwide has been ratified overwhelmingly by a margin of 94 percent. The agreement improves wages, benefits and working conditions, Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa announced today.

The Teamsters now represent a total of more than 11,700 UPS Freight workers in 41 states. In April, a new UPS Freight contract covering 9,900 workers was ratified by an 89 percent margin which improves wages, benefits and working conditions. The workers who voted Aug. 16 and 17 were certified after the April ratification vote.

"We welcome these UPS Freight workers to the Teamsters and we are proud to have negotiated for them a terrific contract," Hoffa said. "Having a binding contract with your company means employees have job security."

"With this latest vote the Teamsters now represent more than 92 percent of UPS Freight eligible under our card check and neutrality agreement. These drivers and dockworkers have shown a great commitment to joining the Teamsters and we look forward to representing them," said Teamsters Package Division Director Ken Hall. "We encourage the remaining UPS Freight workers who have not yet signed cards to do so now so they can also start benefiting from a great contract."

Workers at 50 terminals voted over the weekend. The terminals are in 23 states: Alabama, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Teamsters kicked off this organizing campaign in 2006 when it organized UPS Freight workers in Indianapolis and negotiated a contract with the company that was ratified by a 107-1 vote in October 2007.

The Teamsters won a card-check agreement from UPS in December 2007, and the union launched the nationwide campaign in January. At the 90-day mark of the campaign, 9,900 workers had already signed cards. This campaign has been the largest organizing victory in the freight industry in 25 years.

The contract expires on July 31, 2013. Among the contract's highlights:
-- Wage increases totaling $4.35 per hour or nearly 11 cents a mile over the contract.
-- An improved health care plan with lower employee premium costs with no increases in costs to employees over the life of the contract.

-- Overtime pay for work exceeding 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
-- UPS Freight employees lock in their current pension benefits.
-- The cost of retiree health insurance for most retirees is reduced substantially with no increase in premium cost to employees over the life of the contract.

The Teamsters will continue to organize UPS Freight workers nationwide. There are currently more than 15,000 UPS Freight workers, with 12,600 eligible to sign cards.

The contract ratification caps a 50-year struggle by the Teamsters to organize workers at Overnite, which was bought by UPS in 2005 from Union Pacific Railroad and renamed UPS Freight.