The companies that comprise less-than-truckload carrier YRC Worldwide, Inc. (NASDAQ:YRCW) and the Teamsters union began the first formal step this week to reach a collective bargaining agreement when they met to exchange non-economic proposals, the Teamsters said today.
The union declined to comment on the specifics of the proposals other than to say they covered “national language items.” Negotiations are scheduled to resume in early January, the Teamsters said. A 5-year extension to the 2010 collective-bargaining agreement expires March 31. This week’s meeting included representatives from YRC Freight, YRC’s long-haul unit, and from regional carriers Holland and New Penn.
In a communique, Ernie Soehl, head of the Teamsters’ national freight division, said both sides reached tentative agreements on what Soehl referred to as “language improvements.” Soehl added that the union “made clear to the companies that we are not interested in concessions in these negotiations.”
The contract covers about 20,000 Teamster members working at the YRC companies.
Ratified in January 2014 with the threat of bankruptcy protection hanging over the company and its workers, the 5-year extension preserved the 15 percent wage cuts and draconian pension benefit reductions originally agreed to when the Overland Park, Kan.-based carrier was on death’s door in the wake of the Great Recession. While pay raises were granted over the contract’s extension’s final two years, the long-term financial pain caused by the original wage cuts and a 75 percent pension benefit concession has created much acrimony between YRC management and the rank-and-file.