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Company earningsDriver issuesLess than TruckloadNewsTrucking

Some new drivers will see $7,500 bonuses at YRC Freight, New Penn and Holland

Driver pay moving higher throughout the industry

Less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ: YRCW) and the Teamsters have agreed to implement hiring bonuses for new CDL drivers. In a Tuesday memorandum to local unions representing YRC Freight, New Penn and Holland, the negotiating committee of the Teamsters informed the rank and file that a new-hire bonus of up to $7,500 could be paid to drivers.

The memo highlighted a provision for increased wage rates previously laid out in the national master freight agreement (NMFA), which was last ratified in May 2019, to address “challenges hiring and retaining qualified employees in certain areas of the country.”

The plan calls for the sign-on bonuses to be paid in three installments over 18 months and not to exceed $7,500. YRC will determine which regions should implement the bonus plan to hire new drivers and the local unions have the discretion to approve or decline the plan.

If approved at the local level, current employees who are still under the company’s “new-hire wage progression” program, usually the first two years of employment, will be bumped up to the 100% pay rate for their applicable jobs. Also, if one of the companies or locations in a city or region implements the plan, all locations in the area are expected to participate in the program.

The trucking industry as a whole has seen its fortunes turn in a matter of a couple of months. The roller-coaster demand environment present in the early days of the pandemic has given way to a steady building in freight shipments, most of which are moved by truck at some point. As the percentage of consumer spending on tangible goods has increased, the demand for inventory restocking and truck capacity has surged.  

Concerns around contracting COVID-19, rising drug test failures and refusals seen at the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse and limited driver school enrollment due to social-distancing restrictions have diminished the available driver pool, placing drivers in high demand. The result has been an increase in driver pay throughout the industry as some expect total CDL drivers to decline by as many as 200,000 by the end of the year.

“As you are all aware, there continues to be a shortage of CDL-qualified drivers in the workforce in many geographic areas. This shortage of drivers results in increased use of contractors and [purchased transportation] and also restricts the growth of the bargaining unit,” stated Teamsters National Freight Director Ernie Soehl.

A spokesman from YRC said the company does not have a comment at this time.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Todd Maiden.

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Todd Maiden

Based in Richmond, VA, Todd is the finance editor at FreightWaves. Prior to joining FreightWaves, he covered the TLs, LTLs, railroads and brokers for RBC Capital Markets and BB&T Capital Markets. Todd began his career in banking and finance before moving over to transportation equity research where he provided stock recommendations for publicly traded transportation companies.

13 Comments

  1. YRCW does absolutely NOTHING pro-driver. They claimed they hired only elite drivers when I hired in 5 years ago and granted back then, I felt that the fleet in general was for the most-part a very professional group of drivers. My how quickly time has changed and opened my eyes. YRCW is a very vindictive and unrealistic company. They have passed out the same job site survey (Yes, the exact same one) every year I have worked there and NOTHING has changed. They expect the drivers to drive out dated, poorly maintained equipment at maximum speeds 3 to 8 mph below the posted speed limit. Attempts to get equipment repaired result in a repair order being signed off by a contractor and sent out on the road without even being looked at. Oh yeah! They’ve invested a great deal into updating the fleet of tractors. Damn shame you couldn’t invest a little more with a legitimate mechanical service into the upkeep of them. But it’s the driver’s fault we can’t move the freight. Working 7 nights a week isn’t enough. Asking for earned hometime…. how dare we. Want to see our children, spouse, family on our supposed weekend off? You better have FaceTime or whatever video chat service you use. We are constantly threatened with disciplinary letters, not once EVER a thank you. How does a broke company afford that much paper and postage and yet pay MILLIONS in management bonuses and not contribute ONE damn cent to the pension fund for numerous years and now try to bribe a new hire with $7,500 to come to work for you? Teamsters stood in front of the membership and cried tears claiming that they got us “all they could get” and that YRCW could not afford 1 cent more or they’d bankrupt the company. Teamsters not YRCW, told the membership that we HAD to accept this $%÷t contract or the doors would surely close. Really threw yourself on the sword there, didn’t you Ernie! At my age, I’m stuck here as long as this broke back organization manages to keep the doors open and the only way they’ve done that has been to swindle investors including now the U.S. government into sinking more money into this broken S÷×T show. New hires, you wouldn’t buy a ticket to the maiden voyage of the Titanic knowing how that worked out. Avoid this disaster now and don’t fall for this latest con-job by YRCW.

    1. I agree instead of investing in the good workers they have not saying all of them bust there ass but I know my man does they wanna give to new hire when they should be investing in the employees that get good customer feed back and better equipment instead of the junk trucks they are using and bring more junk to get parts off of them. It is sad that the managers and higher up that sit around and do nothing but sit behind the desk all day make more than the drivers do and can take all the time off they want and God for bid the driver ask for a vacation day it is like the act of congress to get it off and don’t be sick either because when you come back they don’t ask how feeling they just cuss you out for being sick…

      1. Also paying all that money to train dock workers to get there Cdls and bring the teachers to the yard to do it just because they have been there more years then others. The raise should go by the years you have drove a truck not how many you been with the company…..

  2. I think it is really sad that the Greenville SC terminal manager Ben treats all his employees differently. He has his picks and treats the others like sh×t he is always moody in my opinion everyone needs to be treated equally. YRC needs to look into what is going on in that terminal my husband busts his butt only to be treated like that but I tell you one thing if something happens to him or he has a nervous break down because of this someone will pay big time so you best get this under control and quickly….

  3. Any trick less than 10 cents per mile less than, 4 dollars on the hour less than ; pension funds going bankrupt in 2025 or sooner if payouts continue to increase and the government does not bail out ; less than 8 mph than ABF the only other master freight contract carrier company ! Wore out equipment poor maintenance piss poor management and drivers treated like numbers not people ! Animals are treated better and this the wonderful world at yrcw; we hire the very best and they are crawling under rocks or out from under rocks to come to work here ; we are loosing drivers to ABF UPS and local companies because drivers are tired of working 6 and 7 days a week and still not getting 25 hundred miles a week ! Go figure

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