YRC Worldwide announced Wednesday that it has reached a tentative agreement with the leadership of the International Association of Machinists on a new contract for about 200 of its mechanics, likely putting to rest fears that it could lead to further labor problems.
In a release, the company says the pact will now go to the IAM-represented employees for a ratification vote. During the ratification process, these employees will continue to report to work under provisions of the current agreement.
The previous contract with IAM employees expired on March 31. Negotiations continued between YRC and IAM leadership during a mutually agreed-upon extension of the contract. YRC said last week it would end the contract April 15 if no deal with reached.
In an interview with The Journal of Commerce, YRC Worldwide CEO James Welch last week said the company would lockout IAM workers if the two sides could not come to terms. Such a prospect raised concerns this could result in a strike with Teamster members honoring IAM picket lines.
YRC pushed heavily for wage and benefit cuts that Teamster union employees as well as non-union ones have made since 2009 in order to help the financially struggling parent to YRC Freight and other trucking operations.
While the new agreement will affect less than 1% of the company's 32,000 employees, it offers what YRC describes as “important shared-sacrifice provisions that will bring IAM members in alignment with their fellow YRC Worldwide employees.”