Thursday, July 02, 2009

Teamsters Proudly Support Helmets to Hardhats Initiative

Veterans in need of jobs got a boost today with the formation of a partnership between the U.S. Army Reserve and Helmets to Hardhats, a national program the Teamsters Union supports that offers job assistance and training opportunities for union jobs to veterans. The alliance was announced at a Pentagon ceremony today.

"The Teamsters Union is a proud supporter of Helmets to Hardhats," said General President Jim Hoffa. "Our brave men and women who defend our country deserve as much help as we can give them when they return from their tour of duty."

The Army Reserve created the partnership with Helmets to Hardhats to give more veterans the opportunity to learn a skilled trade through federally approved apprenticeship programs. The partnership between them will allow employers to recruit and train qualified veterans.

Helmets to Hardhats is a national, non-profit program that connects military service members to quality career opportunities in the building and construction trades. The Teamsters Union, along with America's 14 other building and construction trade unions and more than 80,000 employers, work with representatives from the program to connect National Guard, reservists, transitioning active duty and retired military veterans to jobs that provide family-supporting wages and benefits in the construction industry.

Also, on July 10, Teamsters Joint Council 42 in Southern California will sponsor a job fair for veterans and active military at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, Calif. Employer representatives will be at the fair to interview job candidates interested in construction trades work.

Payrolls Fall More Than Forecast, Unemployment Rises

Employers in the U.S. cut 467,000 jobs in June, the unemployment rate rose and hourly earnings stagnated, offering little evidence the Obama administration’s stimulus package is shoring up the labor market.

The payroll decline was more than forecast and followed a 322,000 drop in May, according to Labor Department figures released today in Washington. The jobless rate jumped to 9.5 percent, the highest since August 1983, from 9.4 percent.

Unemployment is projected to keep rising for the rest of the year just as the income boost from the stimulus package fades, undermining prospects for a sustained rebound in household purchases, analysts said. As companies from General Motors Corp. to Kimberly-Clark Corp. cut costs, the lack of jobs will restrain growth.

“This will be another jobless recovery,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We may get positive economic growth driven largely by federal spending, but people on the street will say, ‘Where are the jobs?’”

Stocks slid after the report, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropping 2.2 percent to 903.43 at 10:16 a.m. in New York. Treasuries rose, sending yields on benchmark 10-year notes to 3.512 percent from 3.538 percent late yesterday.

Unemployment Claims

The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits last week fell in line with forecasts, Labor also said, indicating firings remain elevated. Initial jobless claims dropped by 16,000 to 614,000 in the week ended June 27, from a revised 630,000 the week before. Full Story........

YRC, Teamsters end abbreviated week of talks

Trucking company YRC Worldwide Inc. and officials from the Teamsters union have ended their first week of talks, so far unable to reach a deal on more employee concessions that would help the trucker stave off a bankruptcy protection filing that could be looming.

The nearly 40,000 unionized employees of YRC, which runs trucks under names including Yellow and Roadway - already agreed to take a 10 percent cut in pay earlier this year to hold up the company's battered finances. In exchange for the pay cut, workers got a 15 percent stake in the company.

But the company is asking for more cuts as shipping declines in the weak economy and YRC is forced to make tough decisions to maintain its cash and hold off creditors.

The trucking industry has been hit hard by a sharp falloff in demand as consumers bought less and manufacturing lines slowed. YRC was hit particularly hard, losing customers when it merged its Yellow and Roadway unit operations. The company complained publicly about its hefty pension obligations and sold some of its real estate to pay off debts. Full Story.......


Less-than-truckload carrier YRC Worldwide Inc. and the Teamsters union have traded plans this week to help the company generate short-term cash, the Teamsters said.

A subcommittee of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee and YRC Worldwide, Inc. continue to assess proposals. Discussions will continue through the week and face-to-face negotiations will resume next week.

Negotiations are being held at the Teamsters’ headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A 10% wage reduction agreed to earlier this year will continue throughout the life of the current National Master Freight Agreement was estimated to save at least $225 million a year. Pay and benefits of non-union workers also were cut.

YRC announces shake-up of top management

As losses mount, trucker reshuffles management ranks.

Struggling trucker YRC Worldwide Inc. announced a shake-up of its upper management, resulting in an expanded role for the president and chief operating officer of its holding company, the hiring of an outsider to head the company's sales, and the departure of its top regional executive.

Mike Smid, president and COO of YRC Inc., has been put in charge of operations of all YRC Worldwide regional and national networks. Smid will also continue in his current role, the company said.

John Garcia, who had been president of Sprint's largest wireless business unit and chief marketing officer for the entire corporation, was tapped to head YRC's sales function. Garcia will manage and coordinate sales for YRC's trucking and logistics units, and report to William D. Zollars, YRC's chairman and chief executive officer.

Gone is Keith Lovetro, president of YRC Regional Transportation. Also departing were Michael Rapken, executive vice president and chief information officer; Jim Ritchie, president of YRC Logistics; and Christina Wise, vice president and treasurer.

John Carr, who had been COO of YRC Logistics, has been promoted to president of the unit. Greg Reid, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, will lead a consolidated marketing effort, including brand and business development initiatives, the company said.

YRC has lost $2 billion in the past 27 months, and without flexibility from its lenders, would be in danger of violating its loan covenants. Zollars said in mid- May that he would consider applying to the federal government for $1 billion in funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to help defray its $2 billion in annual costs for paying into the Teamsters Union's multi-employer pension plan. YRC won a reprieve from its immediate pension obligations June 18 when the Teamsters' Central States pension fund, the largest fund YRC contributes to, allowed the company to defer its $83 million second-quarter pension payment in return for pledging some of its real estate as collateral.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Billings Students Learn Driving Safety From American Trucking Associations' High-Tech Image Trailer

In an effort to teach new teen drivers how to safely travel on Montana highways, elite million-mile professional truck drivers today brought ATA's new high-tech image trailer to Senior High School in Billings, Mont.

An estimated 12.6 million new drivers will receive licenses this year nationally, indicating the necessity of teaching good driving skills early. America's Road team Captains, elite professional truck drivers with millions of accident-free driving miles, demonstrated techniques that teens, and all motorists, should utilize when driving near large trucks.

The American Trucking Associations and the Montana Motor Carriers Association joined the Captains to discuss highway safety with Montana students. In addition to today's event, the truck visited Skyview High School Monday and will continue the safety demonstrations at West High School Wednesday.

"Teenagers are more likely to be involved in an accident than any other demographic," said Ron VanBibber, a professional truck driver from Roadway. "I'm a parent, so I know what we're doing here today is very important. Getting the students into our truck and demonstrating the technology in this trailer - you can tell it's a much greater impact than a book or video."

Featured at today's event were America's Road Team Captains Rich Ewing (Yellow Transportation), Steve Fields (Yellow Transportation) and Ron VanBibber (Roadway). These drivers are members of an elite team of million-mile, accident-free truck drivers who deliver the trucking industry's safety messages across the country.

Montana Motor Carriers Association Executive Vice President Barry "Spook" Stang told reporters, "This is an important tool for the trucking industry. Bringing the high-tech tractor-trailer to Billings-area high schools gives the students a unique perspective on what these drivers do in terms of safety, and also may get them interested in a rewarding career in trucking."

YRC Worldwide, Teamsters trade plans to bolster trucking company

YRC Worldwide Inc. and its union have swapped plans for helping the trucking company generate sufficient short-term cash.

The parties began talks Monday at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ headquarters in Washington. A Teamsters negotiating committee is reviewing YRC’s proposal, and negotiations were expected to resume Tuesday, according to an update on the Teamsters’ Web site. The union has said it is reaching out to stakeholders — such as pension funds and lenders — to address the cash issue.

The Overland Park-based trucking company which has about 49,000 employees, has been hit by a drawn-out freight recession, losing $257.4 million in the first quarter. It has integrated subsidiaries, shut down facilities, laid off workers and sold property to try to cut costs and maintain liquidity.

Early this year, Teamsters member agreed to a 10 percent wage cut and suspension of cost-of-living adjustments through 2013 in exchange for a 15 percent stake in the company. YRC also has been negotiating to defer union pension fund payments using company real estate as collateral — a move its lenders allowed — and on June 18 secured an agreement with the largest pension fund to defer $83 million in payments.

Teamsters Conference Call Availible Online

Thousands of YRC Teamster members listened to a YRCW conference call at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, June 25. If you were not able to listen to the call, you can hear it here.

Monday, June 29, 2009


A subcommittee of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) and YRC Worldwide, Inc. (YRCW) exchanged proposals today, as both sides attempt to negotiate a plan aimed at addressing the company’s short-term operating cash needs. The TNFINC subcommittee is currently reviewing the proposal.

The negotiations are taking place at the Teamsters’ Headquarters in Washington, D.C and will resume tomorrow morning.

Better times ahead for national trucking industry?

A national trucking economist believes the worst might be in the rear-view mirror of the trucking industry.

The American Trucking Associations’ advance seasonally adjusted For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index was up 3.2% in May, the first increase since February. Fort Smith-based ABF Freight System saw its first-quarter tonnage drop 15.7% compared to the first quarter of 2008. Its second-quarter tonnage through mid-May is down 17%, according to company spokesman David Humphrey.

Trucking, according to ATA, serves as a barometer of the U.S. economy, representing nearly 69% of tonnage carried by all modes of domestic freight transportation, including manufactured and retail goods. Trucks hauled 10.2 billion tons of freight in 2008.

However, May’s increase wasn’t large enough to offset the March through April cumulative reduction of 6.7%, noted the ATA statement. Compared with May 2008, tonnage contracted 11%, which was the best year-over-year result in three months. Despite the improvement from April’s 13.2% plunge, May’s decrease is still historically large.

“I am hopeful that the worst is behind us, but I just don’t see anything on the economic horizon that suggests freight transportation is ready to explode,” ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said in the statement. “The consumer is still facing too many headwinds, including employment losses, tight credit, rising fuel prices, and falling home values, to name a few, that will make it very difficult for household spending to jump in the near term.”
Costello also noted that he doesn’t expect tonnage to deteriorate much further and that any growth in tonnage over the next few months is likely to be modest.

ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello said the month-to-month improvement was encouraging, but cautioned that tonnage is unlikely to surge anytime soon.

Donald Broughton, a trucking sector analyst with Avondale Partners, was cited in a recent Associated Press report as saying more than 3,000 trucking companies went out of business in 2008, which removed about seven of 100 trucks off the roads. He said about 480 trucking companies went out of business during the first quarter of 2009, which is less than 1% of the industry’s freight-hauling capacity and leaves too much capacity competing for the lackluster demand.