January 16, 2014 11:30 AM, EST
YRC Continues Teamsters Talks, Sees Revised Plan After Extension Rejected
Russ MacNeil

YRC Worldwide Inc. said is evaluating new approaches to its long-term contract situation in talks with the Teamsters union after last week’s rejection of an extension that would have solidified the carrier’s financial situation.

“The company plans to revise its proposal to both work within the requirements of the capital markets to refinance the company and protect the jobs of its 32,000 employees,” the company’s Jan. 16 statement said, without giving details.

YRC asked the Teamsters to accept an extension of the current contract, which expires next year, into 2019. But 61% of those voting turned down the proposal. Some lenders had agreed to steps that would help the company retire $300 million of its $1.4 billion debt as long as the union approved the extended contract. The first batch of YRC’s debt comes due next month, requiring a $69 million payment. 

“It is clear the Teamsters understand the urgency of the current situation,” YRC Worldwide CEO James Welch said. “Although the company must achieve operational costs savings in the agreement, we also understand that simply revoting the same proposal is not an option.”

Welch’s statement also emphasized that the company was continuing business as usual while the talks proceed.

The union said it is open to the talks.

“We have told the company that we are willing to consider a modified proposal that would protect our members and enhance the company's financial position, but that it must contain meaningful improvements over the last proposal,” the Teamsters said in a Jan. 16 website posting.