The newest hire at trucking company YRC Worldwide Inc. is a recruiter whose job is to find drivers.
Chief executive James Welch revealed the hiring Wednesday during an industry panel discussion held in New York by Wolfe Research. He said it was the first time the Overland Park company had put a recruiter for drivers on its payroll.
“We have a lot of applications for drivers, but they can’t pass the drug test. They can’t pass the background checks,” Welch said. “Or they don’t have the mental faculties that you want to put behind an 80,000-pound rig going down the road.”
YRC, which operates with 26,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, has far fewer drivers to replace each year than many other companies. But Welch said it struggled in some “hot spots” such as Chicago and Boston to fill tractor seats with qualified drivers.
Finding drivers is the kind of work Welch and others at YRC have embraced after spending the winter on two big efforts. The company won changes to its contract with the Teamsters and extended it for five years. It also refinanced debts with lenders.
Now attention can be focused more on improving the company’s fleet, tapping into technology and winning customers, Welch said.
Welch said business had improved in April and May after a weather-disrupted winter. But he is waiting to see how June traffic looks before concluding that the pickup comes from a stronger economy rather than catching up from winter.
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