Thursday, March 04, 2010

Hoffa Applauds Move to Repeal NAFTA

Teamsters Leader Says It's Time to Bail out of a Bad Deal

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa praised today's announcement that a bipartisan bill to repeal the North American Free Trade Agreement has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

The bill is aimed at stimulating investment and employment in manufacturing, which has lost nearly a third of its workers since NAFTA was approved in 1993. The bill repeals the approval of NAFTA and instructs the President to notify Canada and Mexico of the U.S. withdrawal from the treaty.

"The lives of average workers in Mexico and in the U.S. have gotten so much worse since NAFTA," Hoffa said. "When you realize you've made a bad deal, you try to get out of it."

"We were sold a bill of goods about NAFTA," Hoffa said. "We were told it would create export jobs because they were dying to buy our refrigerators, they were dying to buy our cars. None of that happened. Instead we lost nearly 600,000 manufacturing jobs. Our $1.7 billion trade surplus with Mexico in 1993 turned into a $64.7 billion deficit in 2008.

"Nobody ever said the idea of NAFTA was for American corporations to move out of America, go across the Rio Grande and build a factory, exploit the Mexican workers and then ship cars and refrigerators back here to sell," Hoffa said. "Now it's obvious to most people that that's what it was all about."

Hoffa thanked the bill's co-sponsors, Democratic Reps. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, Peter DeFazio of Oregon, Bart Stupak and Dale Kildee of Michigan, Michael Arcuri of New York, Joe Baca and Bob Filner of California, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, Mike Michaud of Maine and Peter Visclosky of Indiana; and Republican Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

In shake-up at YRC Worldwide, Kansas City’s gain could be Springfield’s loss

YRC Worldwide Inc.’s proposal to change the operations of its national trucking company would add a few local jobs but result in bigger losses at the Springfield, Mo., terminal.

Overland Park-based YRC Worldwide presented its change-of-operations memo to the Teamsters union late last month, saying a continuing weak economy is forcing the company to eliminate some duplicate operations.

YRC Inc., the national carrier that was created by the merger of Yellow Transportation and Roadway Corp., said the company’s Springfield operations would be scaled back from a distribution center to a satellite terminal. Full Story....

YRC makes further job cuts

U.S. trucker YRC Worldwide has slashed its workforce further, cutting into its already-thinned ranks as it tries to appease lenders and debt-holders as part of a broad financial restructuring.

The trucking company refused comment. Sources within the company said the No. 1 less-than-truckload carrier laid off at least 200 people in February from its Overland Park headquarters location and a campus in Akron, Ohio.

The layoffs include 90 people, or about 25 percent, in YRC's information technology division, the sources said.

Analysts have expressed concern that YRC's job cuts, coupled with voluntary departures by employees looking for more stable employment elsewhere, might leave the YRC talent pool too shallow.

"It is a concern," said Dahlman Rose analyst Jason Seidl. "You hope they can maintain enough of a talent pool so they can forward."

YRC has fired more than 4,500 employees over the last year as it struggled to stay out of bankruptcy and hold onto customers.

YRC said last month it was regaining its financial footing and was moving forward on a $70 million private placement of unsecured notes that follows a $470 million debt-for-equity swap that was key to keeping lines of credit open with lenders in December.

YRC Chairman Bill Zollars said in February that customers were returning to YRC due to the company's improved financial stability, and the bulk of the employee cuts were over.

On February 23, YRC completed the sale of $49.8 million of its 6 percent convertible senior notes due 2014. YRC has been working to restructure for more than a year.

In a February 25 note to investors, Morgan Keegan analyst Art Hatfield said he saw YRC continuing to struggle.

"We believe YRCW will continue to struggle as tonnage levels are not substantially improving and the company continues to burn through cash," Hatfield's note said.

At mid-morning on Monday, YRC shares were off nearly 5 percent at 44 cents.