Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ballots Mailed To YRCW Teamsters

Ballots were mailed July 17 to all YRCW Teamsters regarding the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) believes the MOU is the best effort to protect tens of thousands of Teamster members’ jobs, wages, and health and pension benefits into the future.

Ballots must be received by the Lanham, Maryland post office by August 6.

Audio Of YRCW Teamsters Conference Call Is Available

On July 16th, thousands of YRCW Teamsters participated in a conference call about the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with General President Jim Hoffa, General Secretary-Treasurer C. Thomas Keegel and Freight Division Director Tyson Johnson. The conference call was meant for members to hear directly from IBT leaders about the MOU and to ask questions.

Click here to listen to the conference call.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Democrats Drop Key Part of Bill to Assist Unions

A half-dozen senators friendly to labor have decided to drop a central provision of a bill that would have made it easier to organize workers.

The so-called card-check provision — which senators decided to scrap to help secure a filibuster-proof 60 votes — would have required employers to recognize a union as soon as a majority of workers signed cards saying they wanted a union. Currently, employers can insist on a secret-ballot election, a higher hurdle for unions.

The abandonment of card check was another example of the power of moderate Democrats to constrain their party’s more liberal legislative efforts. Though the Democrats have a 60-40 vote advantage in the Senate, and President Obama supports the measure, several moderate Democrats opposed the card-check provision as undemocratic.

In its place, several Senate and labor officials said, the revised bill would require shorter unionization campaigns and faster elections.

While disappointed with the failure of card check, union leaders argued this would still be an important victory because it would give companies less time to press workers to vote against unionizing.

Some business leaders hailed the dropping of card check, while others called the move a partial triumph because the bill still contained provisions they oppose.

The card-check provision was so central to the legislation that it was known as “the card-check bill.” Labor had called the bill its No. 1 objective, and both labor and business deployed their largest, most expensive lobbying campaigns ever in the battle over it. Full Story......

Will $900 Million a Year Savings Be Enough For YRC Worldwide?

YRC Worldwide's 50,000 Teamsters employees are being asked to approve an additional 5 percent wage cut as well as an 18-month freeze in the company's pension contributions. This comes on top of a 10 percent wage cut already approved by the YRC workers. Combined, these two givebacks are estimated to save YRCW approximately $900 million annually as the debt-laden company fights for survival.

Another quarter, another round of wage and benefit cuts being proposed to rank-and-file Teamster members at troubled YRC Worldwide, the nation's largest trucking company by revenue.

YRC is asking its 35,000 active workers (plus an additional 15,000 or so laid-off or furloughed workers) to approve a 5 percent wage giveback (on top of an early 10 percent wage cut) that would last through the end of their current contract in 2013.

In addition, YRC wants to stop making payments to Teamsters pension plans for 18 months. That would save the company approximately $45 million a month, rising to $50 million a month in 2010.

Together, the two givebacks are estimated to save YRC Worldwide as much as $900 million a year.

You can pretty much bank on this latest giveback to be approved by Teamsters at YRC companies. Why? They don't have many options. Full Story.......


The Teamsters will soon be voting on the tentative agreement to modify the terms of the current labor agreement. Bill Zollars has more in this new YRC Worldwide Insight video.

FedEx Says Soft Demand To Continue Into 2010

FedEx Corporation said that it's bracing for soft demand for shipping services to continue into 2010, warning that it may be forced to take more cost-cutting actions if the economy deteriorates next year, Dow Jones reported.

FedEx, considered an economic bellwether, noted that it has taken a number of steps this year to bring its services in line with reduced demand, including laying off some employees and grounding some older aircraft.

But the company warned that "additional actions will be necessary to reduce the size of our networks" if the economy continues to decline in 2010.”

Still, FedEx said in the outlook that it won't take any action that hurts its ability to provide high-quality service. It pegged its 2010 capital-spending budget at about $2.6 billion, although it said it will reduce the budget if conditions worsen.

FedEx said 2010 revenue will be hurt by lower yields stemming from reduced fuel surcharges and a competitive pricing environment.

It said it expects volume growth in 2010 at its FedEx Ground unit due to market-share gains, but flat volume at its premium FedEx Express unit. It forecast a drop in shipments at its less-than-truckload unit due to industry overcapacity in the segment. 10k Statement..........

IBT Readies Ratification Ballots for YRC Teamsters

Union employees could receive ballots on wage cuts, company offer by next week

Teamsters at YRC Worldwide’s motor carriers will begin to receive ballots as early as next week for a vote on a plan to steer the troubled carrier clear of bankruptcy.

If the process runs smoothly, YRC and the Teamsters could seal their deal as early as the first week of August.

The Teamsters union and the less-than-truckload carrier group agreed July 9 to swap wage and pension cuts for a greater union say in running the company. The agreement would save the company $45 million a month in 2009 and $50 million a month in 2010, totalling more than $800 million.

Actual savings would be higher, as the wage cuts would stay in place until the current contract expires in 2013.

The agreement would give the Teamsters a seat on YRC’s board of directors and the option to purchase up to 35 percent of the $9 billion company.

It also would allow the union to impose restrictions on future acquisitions, offshore labor and the use of YRC’s third-party logistics subsidiary.

In return, the Teamsters would accept a 15 percent wage cut for the life of their master contract, along with an 18 month cessation of contributions to union pension plans.

The ratification vote could be a tough fight for the company and the union. YRC Teamsters agreed to a 10 percent wage cut in January — this tacks another 5 percent.
The loss of the pension contributions may be the toughest pill to swallow, especially for older drivers near retirement age.

“I think it will pass, but not with as big a margin as the last vote,” one YRC driver familiar with the plan said. “A lot of guys are really concerned” about their pensions, but also about what would happen to the company if the plan were voted down.

The company’s union employees approved the first round of concessions earlier this year by a 72 percent majority.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

YRC Worldwide Makes Significant Progress on Comprehensive Plan

YRC Worldwide Inc. announced today significant progress on its previously announced comprehensive plan to realize efficiencies from the YRC integration, restore financial strength, and position its operating companies for future success. The company's progress report includes updates on two key areas of its plan.

Teamsters to vote on contract modifications

YRC Worldwide announced today that its employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ("IBT") will soon vote on modifying the company's current labor agreement. In addition to a five percent incremental wage reduction, the proposed modified agreement includes an 18 month cessation of union pension fund contributions, which will not require repayment at a later date.

"This is another step in our ongoing strategic plan to restore the financial strength of our company," said Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and CEO of YRC Worldwide. "Modifications to the labor agreement will help us reduce our cost structure, preserve operating capital and increase our competitiveness." In addition, YRC Worldwide is continuing discussions to address the structural inequities of multi-employer pension plans to determine a long-term solution. Zollars said, "We continue to have ongoing, productive dialogues with all our stakeholders, including the bondholders and pension funds."

The modifications would create an approximate $45 million per month savings, which begins immediately upon ratification, and grows to an approximate $50 million per month savings in 2010. In exchange, the Teamsters employees would receive options for 20 percent of the outstanding shares of YRC Worldwide stock, pending shareholder approval. This will allow them to further share in future company performance through stock price appreciation. YRC Worldwide also will appoint an additional member to its board of directors who is mutually agreed upon by the company and the negotiating committee. Additional details regarding the terms of the proposed contract modifications can be found in the current report filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last year, non-union employees of YRC Worldwide began contributing to cost structure reductions at the same or a greater percentage of their total compensation as union employees. This includes modifications to the non-union pension, retirement and other benefit programs in addition to salary and wage reductions. "During this severe economic recession, I am gratified by the continued partnership, professionalism and commitment of our union and non-union employees to make personal sacrifices to achieve long-term success for our company and our customers," said Zollars.

Lender group support and discussions continue

Today the company announced that it finalized an amendment to its revolving credit facility with its lenders to extend the revolver reserve through July 31, 2009. During this extension, YRC Worldwide and its lenders will work collaboratively to reach agreement on options for longer-term modifications to its existing credit facilities. The revolver reserve was initially established in February 2009 to serve as a temporary reserve against the revolver capacity as the company sold real estate collateralized to the lenders.

Second quarter earnings scheduled

YRC Worldwide plans to release second quarter 2009 earnings after market close on Thursday, July 30, 2009

Teamsters consider extra 5 percent YRC Worldwide pay cut

YRC Worldwide Inc.’s union members will weigh an extra 5 percent pay cut on top of losing their pension contributions for 18 months, the union said Tuesday.

Leaders of local units for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters overwhelmingly endorsed the tentative plan at a Tuesday meeting in Chicago, the union said.

If union-represented YRC workers vote for the plan, the union this year would have gained options for as much as 35 percent of outstanding shares in the Overland Park, Kan.-based trucking company. The current plan also would require all YRC employees to take similar cuts, gain the union a YRC board appointee and bring in a corporate turnaround expert.

YRC and the Teamsters have been negotiating since June 29 about concessions that would provide YRC with the cash necessary to survive the recession. They reached a tentative agreement July 9 but didn’t release details until Tuesday.

The 5 percent wage cut, which would be effective until the union labor agreement ends in 2013, would mean a 15 percent total cut in wages this year. Early this year, Teamsters members agreed to a 10 percent cut in exchange for a 15 percent stake in YRC. The cost-of-living adjustment also is suspended through the contract, according to a document distributed at the Chicago meeting.

YRC would end its participation in union pension plans from July 1 through Dec. 31, 2010, meaning members don’t accrue pension benefits during that time. The company would have to resume participation and payments on Jan. 1, 2011. The move reportedly would save $500 million.

According to the document, YRC agreed to Teamsters demands that included gaining an appointee to the board, bringing in a turnaround consultant, offering the opportunity to get YRC stock options for an additional 20 percent of outstanding shares, bringing back bargaining-unit work that had been transferred to other countries, limiting the expansion of YRC Logistics and transferring its work back to the bargaining unit, restricting how the savings can be used, and requiring wages to revert to full rates should YRC file for bankruptcy or be sold. Job protections were added as well.

In addition, the document said, non-union workers at YRC will take equal pay cuts and, during the 18 months when YRC doesn’t participate in pension plans, won’t receive retirement benefits or 401(k) contributions.

YRC’s banks also agreed to “provide a fair share of the economic relief,” the document said, and YRC must provide the union with enough financial information that it can ensure the company’s compliance with plan provisions.

“Unfortunately, the freight recession has worsened for all trucking companies as 2009 has progressed, but it’s been more aggravated at (YRC) companies than any other trucking group operating in North America,” the Teamsters said in a document.


Immediately following the Two-Man Freight meeting held July 14, a Freight Bulletin summarizing the meeting and the documents presented was sent to the printer and will then be mailed to all affected members. It should begin arriving in members’ homes this weekend. The Bulletin contains a question and answer section members will find helpful.

Click here to read the Bulletin.

Memorandum of Understanding
How Did We Get Here?
Summary of Economic Relief Plan
Q and A: Pension and Health and Welfare Benefit Plans
Q and A: Stock Option Plan

Laid-off cubicle dwellers look to the open road

Schools start to see a new type of student: White collar and older

Just over a year ago, Patrick Greene was working for one of the nation's oldest investment banks. Now he's driving a truck.

Greene was a purchasing manager who arranged travel for Bear Stearns executives. He was laid off in July 2008, a few months after JPMorgan Chase & Co. took over. He tried to find work at similar companies, but with no luck. So, after about 40 resumes came to dead ends, Greene decided to learn to drive an 18-wheeler at Edison, N.J.-based Smith & Solomon trucking school.

"It's something I always thought I would like, and just never got to do," Greene said. Despite trucking's long hours and being on the road away from his wife and children for weeks at a time, Greene, 49, liked the idea of a career change after years behind a desk. Full Story........

Monday, July 13, 2009

ATA Seeks Nominations For Mike Russell "Good stuff" Trucking Image Award

The American Trucking Associations today announced that it is seeking nominations for the third annual Mike Russell “Good stuff” Trucking Image Award. The award honors those that creatively generate positive awareness of the trucking industry.

“As an industry, it is important that we highlight trucking’s essentiality,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves. “This award provides a chance to recognize those that have gone above and beyond to promote trucking’s role as the backbone of the American economy.”

Submissions will be evaluated by an impartial panel of judges based on creativity, execution and reach/impact. All submissions must be submitted to the image campaign by Sept. 14, 2009. Winners will be announced during ATA’s annual Management Conference & Exhibition Oct. 4-7 in Las Vegas, Nev.

“This is the third year for this award and I am more impressed with each submission,” said ATA's Communication and Image Policy Committee Chairman Mike Kelley with YRCW. “The trucking industry is fortunate to have such dedicated and resourceful members and I look forward to this year's nominations.”

For a Mike Russell “Good stuff” Trucking Image Award nomination form, click here.

The award is named in honor of the late Mike Russell, a trucking industry supporter and media official who helped develop the “Good stuff. Trucks Bring It.” campaign as Vice President of Public Affairs for the American Trucking Associations. Russell’s efforts to improve the image of the trucking industry inspired this award.