Friday, November 28, 2008


Agreement Will Protect Union’s Freight Members’ Jobs, Benefits

Facing the worst economy since the 1930s, the Teamsters Union and the freight companies of YRC Worldwide Inc. (YRCW) have reached an agreement to provide the company with economic relief that will protect the jobs and retirement security of tens of thousands of Teamsters.

“This agreement will help the company get through this deepening recession and protect the jobs and health, welfare and pension benefits of our freight Teamsters,” said Tyson Johnson, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “This is a very difficult time for our members, but this agreement will protect the livelihoods of our members and their families, which is our number one priority.”

The details of the agreement will be discussed on Wednesday, December 3 with leaders of local unions that represent members from the YRCW companies—Yellow Transportation, Roadway, USF Holland and New Penn. If the local leaders approve the plan, Teamster freight members will be asked to ratify the agreement next month. About 40,000 Teamster drivers, dockworkers, clerical employees and others are actively employed at the companies.

“I believe our freight members understand the terrible economic conditions that are battering the trucking industry,” said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “We are facing the worst economic environment since the Great Depression. We all need to work together to get through this period of uncertainty. This agreement will help protect tens of thousands of our members’ jobs. Failing to act now would be a grave mistake.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Teamsters - YRC negotiations could affect hundreds of local workers

One of the largest shipping companies in the country is at the negotiation table with the Teamsters, and hundreds of Michiana workers could be affected by what comes out of the talks.

About 350 Michiana workers are employed by YRC Worldwide, which you likely know as the three shipping companies they own: Yellow Transportation, USF Holland, and Roadway.

YRC's CEO Bob Zollars says they're exploring their options with the teamsters, to see how they can help the company through this tough economic time.

“We approached the Teamsters in an effort to explore all available options under the National Master Freight Agreement to ensure competitiveness and preserve the benefits and jobs of our union employees,” Zollars said Tuesday, according to the Kansas City Star.

In a memo sent to local Teamster members yesterday, the organization says, "It is questionable if the company can generate enough money to prevent a prolonged downturn," as the struggling economy may affect their ability to borrow money to pay down debts.

The company is trying to re-negotiate the contract they signed 9 months ago, that gave workers a raise.

The teamsters say they're not negotiating the parts of their contract that include benefits; they're really only talking about the possibility of decreasing their pay.

Local teamsters say some sort of agreement is in everyone's best interest.

“We hope we can keep jobs we just want to come to work every day and take a paycheck so we can feed our families just like you and everybody else,” said Dennis Switzer, a Yellow employee who has worked at the terminal in South Bend for 13 years.

“We're in the middle of a recession. We're in the middle of a huge economic downturn and (YRC), like everyone else, is having some struggles. But they’re working through those struggles and they're going to be fine. They’re going to survive and be competitive,” said Bob Warnock III, President of the Local Teamsters #364.

Meanwhile, investment experts don't expect YRC to go out of business over the next few months.

But they do expect its stock to remain volatile, and it's dropped by about 80% over the last year.

These contract negotiations have been going on since Monday.

YRC is the second largest employer of Teamster employees in the country, and there are about 40,000 union employees nationwide at YRC.

YRC could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

YRC Worldwide will spend as much as $100M to buy back senior notes

YRC Worldwide Inc. will offer starting Tuesday to buy back senior debt for as much as $100 million in cash.

In a release after the market closed on Monday, the Overland Park, Kan.-based company said it will offer to buy back its 5 percent and 3.375 percent contingent convertible senior notes due in 2023 and its 8.5 percent senior notes due in 2010. The company said it had drawn on its senior credit facility to finance the purchases.

YRC said it expects to buy at least $230 million of the notes, which would reduce its debt by at least $130 million. To the extent the principal amount of the purchased notes exceeds the amount paid, the company said it will recognize the difference as a gain on extinguishment of debt and include it in the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization under the debt-to-EBITDA leverage ratio in the company’s credit agreement.

“This is another proactive measure that we are taking to reduce our debt and improve our earnings,” Chairman and CEO Bill Zollars said in the release. “Given the deteriorating economic environment, we have implemented a comprehensive program to improve our competitive position, increase our profitability and enhance our financial condition.”

YRC Seeks Economic Relief

The following is a statement from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Freight Division:

YRC Worldwide Inc. management has been seeking economic relief in the National Master Freight Agreement for several weeks. Following the recent downgrading of its debt rating by both Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service and its impact on the company’s ability to maintain a line of credit, the Teamsters General Executive Board today unanimously agreed to permit representatives from the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee to enter into discussions with YRC immediately to determine how to best preserve Teamsters jobs and protect benefits.

Please go to for the latest updates on discussions with YRC.

Goods carried by US trucks declined last month

Total goods shipped by trucks in the U.S. fell 3 percent last month, a major industry trade group said, marking the fourth consecutive month-over-month decline.

The American Trucking Associations said Monday its seasonally adjusted tonnage index, which measures the weight of freight hauled by U.S. truckers based on membership surveys, fell to its lowest level in five years in October.

"October should be the busiest month of the year, but instead this October was a fizzle," said ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello. "The latest truck tonnage drop suggests that retailers are very pessimistic for the holiday sales season."

Costello said the accelerated weakening of tonnage in October suggests that shipments in the fourth quarter might be unexpectedly slow as well.

Truckers serve as a gauge of U.S. economy health because they haul about 70 percent of manufactured and retail goods.