Teamsters reject YRC contract; get wage boost at UPS

The votes have been counted and the Teamsters have rejected a contract extension with one of the nation’s largest carriers and come to terms on a new deal with another.IBT-logo

YRC Worldwide (#3 in the CCJ Top 250) is exploring its options after the Teamsters rejected the Kansas City-based company’s proposal for a contract extension last week. The contract, rejected by 61 percent of the voting members, would have kept in place a series of concessions the union accepted in an effort to save the struggling LTL giant.

“Our members have made huge sacrifices to keep this company alive and a majority made the decision not to sacrifice anymore,” said Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee, representing about 26,000 workers.

YRC had said that a union rejection of the deal could jeopardize critical plans to refinance much of its more than $1 billion debt.

Investment analysts are divided over whether creditors will give the company more time, whether YRC will be forced to sell some of its profitable trucking units, or whether the company will file for bankruptcy protection. YRC is the holding company for YRC Freight, YRC Reimer, Holland, Reddaway, and New Penn. YRC Worldwide.

Just days later, however, UPS Freight Teamsters voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new national five-year master agreement that “increases wages, significantly strengthens pension benefits and takes on the issue of subcontracting,” the union said late Sunday. UPS is #1 on the CCJ Top 250 list.

The vote, which was 5,195 to 2,094 as of Sunday night, was held at local union halls during the weekend. Participation was 69 percent, which far exceeded the previous ratification vote last June, which was 58 percent. A handful of local unions covering fewer than 50 members had not reported their results as of Sunday night, according to the release.

“UPS Freight members told us their top concerns were pensions and protecting their work, and this new contract addresses those issues head on,” said Ken Hall, Teamsters general secretary-treasurer and Package Division director. “Today’s vote reflects the strength of the new agreement. It’s an industry-leading contract.”

The new five-year national contract covers 13,000 UPS Freight workers and provides $2.50 an hour in wage increases over five years, making UPS Freight Teamsters the highest-paid in the industry, the union statement said.