March 21, 2012

Teamsters bless YRC's exit from short-haul business

Change to take effect April 8.

By Mark B. Solomon

The Teamsters union has agreed to allow YRC Worldwide Inc. to proceed with a realignment of its less-than-truckload operations that will allow the carrier to effectively exit the shorter-haul delivery business.

In a memo dated March 16, Gordon Sweeton, a Teamsters international vice president overseeing the union's response to YRC's proposed change of operations, said the Overland Park, Kan.-based carrier could implement the change as soon as April 8. A YRC spokeswoman said the company would implement the change on that date.

YRC proposed in January to remove its long-haul carrier, YRC Freight, from the market for freight moving 500 miles or less. The objective for the carrier was to streamline its operations, reduce its payout for damage claims by minimizing "touches" of the freight, and to return it to its core competency of hauling freight over longer distances.

As part of the proposal, the short-haul freight would be turned over to the company's three regional units: Holland, Reddaway, and New Penn. However, in a strange twist, the mid-March memo from Sweeton states that the company has repeatedly pledged it will not turn over any of the freight to "subsidiary or sister companies."

Ken Paff, national organizer for dissident group Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) and a frequent critic of Teamster policies, said the provision was included for "popular consumption" and that it is "180 degrees opposite of reality." Paff said YRC executives have said repeatedly that the idea is to divert the freight from the national operations to the three regional carriers. One of the regional carriers, Reddaway, is mostly non-union.

YRC, a unionized carrier subject to the National Master Freight Agreement that governs labor relations in the trucking industry, was required to get Teamsters approval before implementing the change.

More articles by Mark B. Solomon

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