Leaders of all local unions that represent workers at YRC Freight, Holland and New Penn met today and with the exception of one local voted unanimously to endorse the tentative National Master Freight Agreement covering approximately 30,000 Teamsters, paving the way for a vote by the membership.
“Negotiations were very difficult and complex, but we strongly believe we have negotiated an agreement that will protect the livelihoods of our members over the next five years,” said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division. “Every member of our negotiating committee believes that the YRCW companies cannot afford any more money than what is contained in this tentative agreement and that there is not a single penny more to get. We pushed the company to the absolute limit.”
The tentative agreement contains numerous improvements, including:
- $4.00 in wage increases over five years for the vast majority of workers (an 18% increase for most drivers and dockworkers) including a $1.00 wage increase retroactive to April 1, 2019 (a 4.5% increase for most drivers and dockworkers);
- Significant increases for dock-only, clerical, maintenance employees, janitors, and porters hired after February 2014 including a minimum of an immediate $1.00 wage increase retroactive to April 1, 2019;
- Restoration of the week of vacation that was given up (in other words, employees otherwise entitled to four, five and six weeks of vacation) effective April 1, 2019. This will require the three companies to restore approximately 14,000 additional weeks of vacation every year;
- Protection of health and welfare benefits with no employee premium co-pays. Up to $0.50 per hour increases each year for most funds. The company agreed to provide other funds with fixed guaranteed amounts to maintain benefits;
- Improved language to curb excessive executive bonuses; and
- Prohibitions against using driverless trucks.
For the past decade, the YRCW operating companies have operated under a series of Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) that contained significant economic concessions necessary to allow the company to survive. At the outset of bargaining, in addition to seeking to reverse the trend of giving concessions, the union committee determined that it was necessary to get out from under the MOU structure and return to a traditional NMFA contract structure. The members had not had a new contract in nearly a decade. The tentative agreement accomplishes that, restores the traditional contractual structure and provides for significant economic and non-economic improvements for Teamsters. This was no small task because the YRCW companies continue to face financial difficulties, need to upgrade equipment and must seek to recapture market share.
The Teamsters National Freight Industry Negotiating Committee (TNFINC) for these negotiations was made up of nearly 30 officers and agents from numerous local unions across the country. At all times, the focus was about trying to restore as much as possible for the members and get improvements wherever possible. “The entire committee was, and remains, completely committed to the membership,” Soehl said. “The livelihoods of nearly 30,000 workers hang in the balance and 30,000 families count on the health care provided under this contract.”
Soehl said the union committee worked extremely hard and dug into the minute details of the companies’ operations, finances and how to maximize protections and benefits for the members. In the end, every single member of the bargaining committee supports and recommends this tentative agreement.
The tentative agreement contains significant economic and language improvements for the membership, as well as creative tools for the companies to use to increase market-share, expand into new areas of opportunity, and improve service while at the same time protecting and enhancing jobs, seniority, working conditions, and earning opportunities for the membership (see inside for more information). The committee also beat back numerous efforts by the companies to impose health care premium co-pays and other givebacks.
On or about April 19, members will be mailed voting information. The vote will be by secret ballot as it always has been, but this time members will vote via the internet or phone.
The vote will be conducted through the BallotPoint Election Services voting system. In the packet being mailed, members will find the agreement and a summary of the highlights including questions and answers. But instead of a paper ballot, members will find an individual access code and simple instructions on how to use the access code to vote by telephone or internet.
The Teamsters Union has used BallotPoint extensively over the past four years to conduct contract ratifications, including the recent ABF Freight, UPS, UPS Freight and Costco elections. All of the ratifications were conducted without incident or challenges.
Votes will be counted on or about May 3.
Click here for highlights of the tentative National Master Freight Agreement, answers to frequently asked questions, and to view all of the tentative agreements.