YRC Worldwide not after more pay cuts, union group says

YRC Worldwide Inc. wants “flexibility” rather than more wage and benefits concessions from its Teamsters employees, according to an independent Teamsters’ group.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union

reported the company’s position on its website Tuesday. It cited a conference call held by Tyson Johnson, who is the co-chairman of a freight industry negotiating committee for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The company declined to comment. Union officials could not be reached.

YRC employs about 26,000 Teamsters.

The Overland Park-based trucking company has asked the union to extend a contract that currently expires at the end of March 2015. An extension would continue until 2019 several pay and benefits cuts Teamsters accepted to keep the company from failing during the Great Recession.

YRC also has said the extended contract needs to make the company more competitive but hasn’t said what that would require.

Last week, YRC’s chief financial officer Jamie Pierson said in an interview with The Kansas City Star that the company needs to increase its “operating flexibility” without offering specifics.

“We operate in a non-union industry, and we need to be able to react quicker,” Pierson said.

The post by the Teamsters for a Democratic Union said Johnson told union officials on the call that specific information would become available later through additional conference calls.

Lenders have pressed YRC to extend the labor contract before they will extend loans to the company that are coming due beginning next year. YRC has said it can’t repay the debts and needs to refinance with the lenders.

Teamsters for a Democratic Union said in its post that union officials had agreed last week to open talks on the contract “as long as there were no new concessions.”