- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters used its Series A Voting Preferred Stock to name a labor expert and activist investor to Yellow Corp.’s board, according to a securities filing Tuesday.
- David Webber, a Boston University law professor and author of “The Rise of the Working-Class Shareholder: Labor’s Last Best Weapon,” specializes in pensions, shareholder activism and litigation. He joined the board last week.
- “We are pleased to welcome David to the board,” Matt Doheny, Yellow’s board chairman, said in a statement. “We look forward to his perspectives from a labor standpoint, and we will benefit from his insights as we continue our company-wide modernization to become One Yellow.”
Webber, a professor of law at Boston University, is a highly respected academic who has published scholarly articles in the Harvard Business Law Review and the University of Chicago Business Law Review, among others, Yellow said in a news release. The board voted to approve his nomination April 19, per the filing.
He will receive an annual cash retainer of $160,000, paid quarterly, and an annual grant of restricted stock units equal to $100,000 divided by the common stock’s 30-day average closing price, the filing said.
The union’s move — which grows the size of the board to 11 members — escalates its fight with Yellow over the LTL carrier’s network overhaul.
Webber’s board appointment was effective Thursday, according to the company, one day before Yellow accepted the Teamsters’ challenge to move up bargaining over a national contract to negotiate the carrier’s proposed network changes. The carrier did not immediately respond to a question about whether, or how, Webber voted on reopening bargaining.
In a multi-year effort to combine its four separate operating companies, the carrier seeks to sell 28 terminals, combine seniority lists and create “utility driver” positions, in which drivers also work the docks.
But the union has repeatedly questioned Yellow’s motives, arguing the carrier was instead vying for new financing from its lenders. Yellow has nearly $1.6 billion in debt payments due in the next three years.
Teamsters National Freight Director John Murphy argued on a member call last week that the company has not demonstrated it can do a good job managing itself. He noted the union’s “literally billions of dollars in wage and pension concessions” in the last round of bargaining in 2019, and pledged on the call this round of negotiations would be different.
“The concessions stand is closed,” Murphy told members.