Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Teamsters to Push YRC to Resume Pensions

William B. Cassidy | Jun 30, 2010 4:14PM GMT
The Journal of Commerce Online - News Story
LTL| Labor| Trucking| United States
Hoffa says his union will hold carrier’s ‘feet to fire’ for 2011
The Teamsters union is aiming to get YRC Worldwide to resume some pension contributions starting in January 2011, union officials said Tuesday.

"We're going to make sure we hold their feet to the fire so they start the payments in some fashion, and that is our goal," said General President James P. Hoffa.

"The main issue is that we bring YRC back into our plans at some contributory rate," said Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters National Freight Division.

That implies the union might agree to allow YRC Worldwide to pay less than the full amount that would be due when its pension contribution suspension expires.

"We don't know what things will be like toward the end of the year," Johnson told YRC Worldwide Teamster employees in a June 29 conference call.

"We will do our work, we will have this company postured to return to our benefit trust," said Johnson. "They fully understand our intent. We confirm it weekly."

Johnson said negotiations with the company on the pension issue got under way in June, establishing the framework and guidelines needed for further talks.

"We need to have the bumps and wrinkles rubbed out before we reach the Jan. 1 date," he said. "It's not something you do in a couple of days."

YRC Worldwide faces about $30 million a month in renewed pension obligations starting in January, according to the Wolfe Trahan research firm.

The $5.3 billion trucking operator won an 18-month suspension of pension contributions from the Teamsters last August, along with a 15 percent wage cut.

Starting next year, YRC also faces $155 million in deferred pension contributions from the first half of 2009 and $200 million in deferred interest payments.

Investment analysts say the company needs to have its pension deadline extended to 2012 as it struggles to return to profitability after three years of losses.

The international union and $5.3 billion trucking operator set up two joint committees to start talks on the pension issue and YRC's "competitiveness" in May.

The Teamsters leaders said they are willing to help the company be more competitive, but they will not renegotiate the National Master Freight Agreement.

"We have not opened the contract for negotiations," said Johnson. "We are not renegotiating national language. We are not renegotiating supplemental language."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

how can you force yellow to resume pensions if you are driving the company to chapter 11 or the tax payers have to pay for this too.