YRC Worldwide, Inc., and leaders of the Teamsters Union announced over the weekend that they have reached a tentative agreement to extend their current collective bargaining agreement, although no concrete contract details have been provided in either the YRC's statement or the union's statement, as both side released separate statements.
According to the statements, YRC and leaders of Teamster locals representing about 26,000 employees will meet next Tuesday in an undisclosed location to discuss the new proposal. Should the leaders of the locals approve the offer, it will be sent to the rank-and-file for a ratification vote.
The announcement comes eight days after workers at the less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier resoundingly rejected management's initial offer to extend the contract, which expires in March 2015, until 2019. According to YRC CEO James L. Welch, the previous offer was not negotiated with the union and was instead sent directly to the rank-and-file for a vote. The revised version, by contrast, was negotiated with the union, Welch said.
"The outcome of next week's discussions is critical to the future of the company," Welch said in the statement. "The MOU extension is something our employees can have confidence is the best—and only remaining—path forward."
Welch said the new proposal contains several revisions that "address concerns raised by the Teamsters leadership and its members."
"We recognize that YRC will have to go back to the financial market to obtain financing that will permit it to operate and grow its business, but the market needs to understand that YRC's front line workers are the lifeblood of the company and, while willing to play a role, will not shoulder the entire burden," Tyson Johnson, head of the Teamsters' freight division, said in the union's statement.
YRC is trying to refinance $1.4 billion in debt and lenders have said they will not agree to a debt restructuring without an extended labor agreement in place. YRC has a Feb. 15 deadline to make a $69 million principal payment on the debt. To read more, click HERE.