YRC Worldwide Inc. and the Teamsters Union said May 24 they will form a joint committee to address issues surrounding YRC's scheduled January 2011 re-entry into the Teamsters' pension plan after an 18-month hiatus.
A second committee will be formed to analyze the company's current competitive position in the marketplace, YRC and the Teamsters said in separate statements.
In addition, the Teamsters Union announced it has nominated Teresa Ghilarducci, an economics professor at New York's New School for Social Research, to YRC's board of directors. Prof. Ghilarducci is an expert in pension and benefits issues and has previously worked with the Teamsters on various projects, the union said.
The Teamsters won the right to select a director to YRC's board as part of a landmark 2009 agreement with YRC that called for wage givebacks and an 18-month freeze on pension contributions in return for union ownership in the nation's largest less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier by sales.
"The self-help recovery that the company and union accomplished together has stabilized the business and put us back on the path to success," said William D. Zollars, YRC's chairman, president, and CEO, in a statement about the formation of the two committees. The committees will "provide further momentum as we focus on additional improvements to solidify the company's industry leading position," Zollars said.
The committees "provide an additional avenue for the Teamsters to be proactive in our continued efforts to preserve jobs and benefits" of YRC's 35,000 Teamster members, James P. Hoffa, the union's general president, said in a separate statement.
It is projected that it will cost YRC about $500 million—or $15,000 annually per Teamster employee—should the company be required to resume full pension contributions in January 2011. Given YRC's still-precarious financial condition and a stubbornly weak LTL market amid what appears to be a broad-based trucking recovery, several experts have said it may be difficult for the company to fully restore pension contributions as planned in January.