With one of the last major Teamster trucking companies having spent years teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, this may be a case of delaying the inevitable.
However, Teamster members have the immediate fate of not only their 26,000 jobs, but the jobs of another 6,000 employees in their hands as they decide whether or not to extend the concessionary contract with their employer another five years.
According to the summary provided to Teamsters, the additional concessionary contract includes cuts in vacation pay and benefits, freezing wages for some employees, and “introduce lower pay scales for some new hires and change work rules the company said would give it flexibility to compete.”
The push is on to convince 26,000 Teamsters to accept a decade of cut wages and reduced benefits from YRC Worldwide Inc., the struggling trucking giant based in Overland Park.
Unionized drivers, mechanics, dockworkers, clerks, janitors, porters and maintenance workers already have lived with pay cuts since 2009.
Now, they are asked to extend that pact into 2019, plus accept some changes aimed at saving the company an additional $100 million a year. Some estimates put the savings so far in the neighborhood of $3 billion.
It may be a tough sell to voters who already have had five years of pay cuts.
“When are we going to stop giving?” asked a Dallas-area Teamster who asked not to be identified for fear of possible reprisals. “It’s time to draw a line in the sand.”
Randy Zolner, a Teamster who works in the Chicago area, said he would vote for the extension though it’s not a good deal.
“I’m 56. I don’t want to go look (for a job) again,” Zolner said.
Should the Teamster members reject the concessions, the likelihood of YRC ending up like Atlantic Express increases exponentially.