Thursday, November 4, 2010

One More Election About the Economy

YRC urges Teamsters not to vote themselves out of a job.


Against a backdrop of rising demand for trucks and truckloads, YRC Worldwide’s COO told his union employees the fate of the company – and their jobs – is in their hands.

YRC Worldwide’s Teamster employees, who twice last year voted to accept wage and benefit cuts, must vote on the carrier’s latest proposal, extending wage cuts and reducing pension obligations. In a letter to YRC’s Teamsters, Michael J. Smid, who is also president of YRC, the LTL operation at the heart of the company, was blunt in his message.

"If the restructuring does not pass, customers lose confidence in our ability to handle their business," Smid said in the Oct. 4 letter. "The resulting shipment loss will make it impossible for YRC Worldwide to continue in business."

Smid praised the "tremendous personal sacrifice" by union members that helped preserve "tens of thousands of jobs" at YRC Worldwide – and asked for more. "The bottom line is that we have no future with a 'no' vote," said Smid. More than 25,000 union jobs are at stake, he said.

Resuming full pension contributions – about $30 million a month – could rapidly eat into the less-than-truckload operator’s liquidity, transportation analysts say. YRC’s finances are improving, but it lost more than $2 billion over the past three years and lost market share to competitors FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight. The $5.3 billion company reported a $9.5 million second-quarter loss, compared with a $309 million loss a year ago and a $274.1 million first-quarter loss.

Ballots were mailed to the Teamsters October 7, and will be counted October 28 and 29.

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