Workplace

Memo indicates no second vote on rejected YRC contract proposal

Updated: 2014-01-16T03:16:35Z

By MARK DAVIS

The Kansas City Star

Teamsters members won’t be revoting on the YRC Worldwide Inc. contract proposal they soundly rejected last week, according to a memo attributed to the union.

The memo was posted online by the independent group Teamsters for a Democratic Union. The group has no affiliation with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The independent group indicated the Teamsters had sent the message to its union locals.

Teamsters officials in Washington could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“Please be advised that there are no plans to revote the rejected extension,” the memo said, citing the overwhelming rejection of the contract proposal.

YRC’s Teamsters employees voted 61 percent against a proposal that would have extended the existing labor agreement into 2019 and added concessions from the roughly 26,000 members the company employs. Their current contract runs through March 2015.

The memo, dated Tuesday, said it is the “understanding” of union leaders that YRC terminal managers have been asking Teamsters members to ask officials at union locals and national headquarters for another vote. It said the managers’ efforts were “not the appropriate way” to initiate further dialogue between the company and union.

YRC, in an emailed statement earlier this week, had said it encouraged members concerned about their jobs to “communicate directly with their union leadership,” but it did not indicate whether it had asked them to carry any specific message.

The Teamsters memo said union leadership understood that the company was “assessing its situation in order to determine its next steps.”

Separately, Moody’s Investors Service changed its outlook on YRC Worldwide’s credit rating Wednesday to negative.

The outlook, which had been positive, keeps the current credit rating in place, but Moody’s said the company’s financial situation is “precarious.” It cited the contract proposal’s rejection and YRC’s claim that lenders had demanded approval before they would refinance debts the company cannot repay.

With a $69.4 million debt coming due Feb. 15, YRC has “a very short time frame,” Moody’s said, but it added that “a favorable resolution prior to Feb. 15 remains within the realms of possibility.”

Shares of Overland Park-based YRC rose 15 cents Wednesday to $12.78.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com.

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