Teamsters want Yellow members 'first in line' for relief payments

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Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023:

Teamsters vow to back former Yellow employees in bankruptcy proceedings

The Teamsters Union on Monday said that, following Yellow officially filing for bankruptcy, its legal and economic teams are closely following Yellow’s moves throughout bankruptcy proceedings.

John A. Murphy, Teamsters National Freight Director, said the union will do everything it can “to prioritize our members at Yellow and their families during this bankruptcy.”

“Our members’ loss of work at Yellow was no fault of their own. They should be the first in line for real relief as bankruptcy moves forward,” Murphy said. “While Yellow’s closure represents one last shameful act by a greedy employer, the Teamsters will never desert our brothers and sisters.”

Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien warned that “Yellow may try to use the courts to eradicate its financial responsibilities,” adding that “Teamster families sacrificed billions of dollars in wages, benefits and retirement security to rescue Yellow. The company blew through a $700 million government bailout. But Yellow’s dysfunctional, greedy C-suite failed to take responsibility for squandering all that cash.”

Yellow has been off and on the ropes financially since at least 2009, yet it had managed to narrowly avoid bankruptcy multiple times until now. It's pending closure, affecting nearly 30,000 employees, is among the largest in U.S. history with regard to headcount. The company has been in the process of winding down operations for more than a week.

As previously reported by CCJ, Yellow CEO Darren Hawkins largely blamed the Teamsters for the company’s ultimate downfall. “We faced nine months of union intransigence, bullying and deliberately destructive tactics,” he said. “A company has the right to manage its own operations, but as we have experienced, IBT leadership was able to halt our business plan, literally driving our company out of business, despite every effort to work with them.”

[Related: Yellow files Chapter 11 bankruptcy]

Volvo, Mack recall electric trucks for battery issues

Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks are recalling their respective battery-electric trucks due to an issue with the high-voltage battery that could cause it to short circuit and spark a fire.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents state that Volvo is recalling approximately 172 model year 2020-’24 VNR Electric trucks because the rivnut threaded inserts inside the high-voltage battery may be over-tightened and break, which could result in a short circuit.

Mack is recalling approximately nine model year 2022-’23 LR battery-electric trucks for the same issue.

Dealers will replace the batteries, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Sept. 15. Owners may contact Volvo Trucks' customer service at 1-800-528-6586 with recall number RVXX2308, and Mack Trucks’ customer service at 1-800-866-1177 with recall number SC0447. NHTSA’s recall number for Volvo is 23V-512, and its recall number for Mack is 23V-514.

[Related: Powertrain issue prompts eCascadia recall]

Nikola dealership network expands to Michigan

Sales territory for Nikola’s all-electric and fuel cell tractors has expanded to Michigan where a growing alt-fuel dealer thinks they’re an ideal fit.

Alta eMobility announced last week that it’s providing sales and service for Nikola Tre BEV and hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in Livonia,  where its parent company Alta Equipment Group has operated for the last 40 years.

With a range of up to 330 miles for the Tre BEV and up to 500 miles for the Tre FCEV, Nikola’s Class 8 trucks are ideal for shorter-haul and stop-and-go routes, which, according to Alta eMobilty, are prominent in Michigan due to its international border crossings and multiple ports.

Bringing Nikola’s zero-emission trucks to Michigan also supports the state’s measures to deliver a carbon-neutral economy and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 as laid out in Michigan’s MI Healthy Climate Plan.

“This agreement marks an important opportunity for Alta, Nikola, the State of Michigan and the thousands of companies putting fleets on the road every day,” said Ryan Greenawalt, chairman and CEO of Alta Equipment Group. “Alta is committed to helping customers hit their sustainability objectives by supporting them in every step of the journey, from planning to execution to maintenance, and we’re proud to now be able to provide all of the expertise and services of Alta eMobility to the state we call home.”

[Related: Nikola announces change in leadership]

Alta eMobility vice president Mike Bucci looks forward to serving their longstanding customer base in Livonia and welcoming new clients into the fold.

“Alta eMobility is thrilled to expand dealership territories into our home state,” Bucci said. "There are many synergies between our verticals and current customers already. This expansion will enable us to help our customers rapidly meet their sustainability goals.”

Alta eMobility markets only Nikola trucks and also has dealerships in Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.  

Alta eMobility offers a turnkey transition to zero-emisson Nikola tractors which includes a fleet assessment; a customized plan that covers tractors, charging, rebates and incentives; charger installation, tractor delivery and set-up including software integration; and service and maintenance appointments.  

[Related: J.B. Hunt adding Nikola battery-electric, hydrogen fuel cell trucks to fleet]