Friday, December 04, 2009

Hoffa: Trade Reform Essential to Job Creation

The following is a statement by Teamsters GeneralPresident Jim Hoffa reflecting his comments on Thursday at the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth:

"On behalf of organized labor, I'd like to thank President Obama for holding this important forum.

"President Obama recognizes that creating good, sustainable jobs is the key to America's economic growth. And the key to creating good, sustainable jobs is nurturing and protecting infant industries with strong potential to grow. We should be investing in clean and efficient energy technology that we can export to the world.

"Rebuilding our manufacturing base through exports won't just help blue-collar workers. It will help the retailers, teachers, police officers, truck drivers and countless others who derive their livelihood from a strong manufacturing base, however indirectly.

"To rebuild manufacturing, we need to reform our trade policy and to review existing trade agreements. The TRADE Act of 2009 would go a long way to achieve that goal.

"The TRADE Act would make sure that the benefits of trade go to creating American jobs. It lays out the foundation of how a trade agreement should be negotiated and what it can and cannot include. Importantly, it will prevent future trade deals from banning policies to buy and source American components, products and services. It will prohibit privatization and deregulation requirements.

"We also need to enforce trade rules and international agreements. To that end, we support the Trade Enforcement Priorities Act of 2009. The bill would require the U.S. Trade Representative to set priorities for its enforcement strategy and to work with countries that have a pattern of unfair trade practices.

"Finally, we need to bring down our trade deficit as part and parcel of any jobs strategy.

"We look forward to working with Congress and the administration on setting policies that create good, sustainable union jobs."

YRC is confident that deal with bondholders will be approved

YRC Worldwide said Thursday that it is "very confident" shareholders will approve a debt-to-equity swap that would eliminate more than $500 million in debt from its books.

The Overland Park-based trucking giant made the statement after an analyst with R.W. Baird & Co. expressed doubt that the deal with bondholders would muster the necessary votes.

Bondholders would gain control of 95 percent of YRC's common stock in exchange for wiping out the debt.

Shares in YRC closed Thursday at $1.20, down 10 cents.

Analyst Jon A. Langenfeld said the current price of the bond deal is based on an "overly aggressive profit recovery scenario," according to a Journal of Commerce report. The deal faces a Tuesday deadline.

The debt swap is a critical part of YRC's recovery plan. The company has sold assets, laid off workers and gained wage concessions from salaried and union workers.