Teamsters employees at trucking giant YRC Worldwide Inc., last week overwhelmingly rejected extending a concessions-laden contract that the company said it badly needed. Official results of a month long mail-in vote tabulated on Wednesday and Thursday showed that 61 percent rejected the pact’s extension for five years and 39 percent approved it, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Before the vote, YRC executives had said rejection would put the Overland Park-based company in jeopardy and that lenders demanded the contract extension before they would refinance more than $1 billion in debts the company can’t repay.
Official results of a month long mail-in vote tabulated on Wednesday and Thursday showed that 61 percent rejected the pact’s extension for five years and 39 percent approved it, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Ballots had been cast by 19,651 of the roughly 26,000 Teamsters who work for YRC, according to Bloomberg News.
“The Teamsters Union believes in democracy, and we’ve let the democratic process take its course,” said Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters national freight division. “Our members have made huge sacrifices to keep this company alive and a majority made the decision not to sacrifice anymore.”
YRC said in December it had worked out a $300 million deal with lenders and investors, but its completion depended on the union’s approval of the contract extension. Despite the company’s warnings, several Teamsters members had openly rejected the contract extension during the month-long mail-in period for the vote. Some posted photos of themselves on Facebook with “no” marked on their ballots before mailing them in.
Approval would have meant the 15 percent pay cut the Teamsters have worked under since 2009 would continue into 2019, as would pension and other benefits reductions they had approved in three earlier votes. It also would have made other changes to work rules, vacation benefits and other matters that management said would make the company flexible enough to compete with its mostly non-union rivals.
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