- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters rejected Yellow Corp.’s resubmitted proposal for its One Yellow LTL network overhaul, the union announced last week, saying it would subvert union bargaining.
- The Teamsters canceled an April 5-7 negotiation meeting with the company after talks broke down Thursday. The union said Yellow’s plan would “jam through” changes without a union vote, alter the terms of its collective bargaining agreement and affect 104 union locals representing Yellow employees.
- In response, the company called the canceled meeting “an unfortunate effort to halt Yellow’s modernization efforts,” urging the union to allow a vote on the proposed changes. “Let employees make their own decisions about Yellow’s continued modernization efforts and their future job security,” Yellow said.
The Teamsters are digging in, rejecting a revised version of the carrier’s plan to sell 28 smaller, end-of-line terminals and consolidate operations at more modern, regional distribution centers.
The company’s proposal seeks to realign the ZIP codes served by more than 200 terminals, among other provisions. The union demands established work standards and contractual protections be maintained, primary lanes be preserved, and driver and dockworker classifications be protected.
If the proposal went to a vote, Teamsters members would unanimously reject it, General President Sean O’Brien said in a statement.
“This company doesn’t get to run around and ignore workers’ rights,” O’Brien said. “We’re not playing games.”
The Teamsters’ objections to the network reorganization follow its approval of One Yellow in the Western U.S. last year. One Yellow has already showed promising signs in the West, the company said.
The company said the union “has been mischaracterizing our statements and positions,” emphasizing that it has been working in good faith with the more than 100 union locals representing its roughly 22,000 union employees.
“As we have listened to our employees, we have also listened to our customers who have determined what they prioritize: speed, reliability and competitive pricing,” the company said. “We have a responsibility to our 250,000 customers and the Americans who rely on our capacity to keep the nation’s supply chain and economy moving each day.”
Yellow’s financial position — which the proceeds from the terminal sales could help improve — looms large over the negotiations. A 25% drop in tonnage in Q4 prompted job cuts, CEO Darren Hawkins said on an earnings call, and the company has nearly $1.6 billion in debt payments and obligations due in the next three years.
The 1.2 million-member union “is continuing to take a harder look at Yellow’s finances and analyze its ability to maintain operations under the existing agreement,” the Teamsters said.