Teamsters Union President James Hoffa Friday had some harsh words for LTL giant YRC Worldwide following news that it tried to purchase competitor Arkansas Best, which owns ABF.
“It is unconscionable that in the middle of the [Teamsters] sensitive negotiations for a new contract for 6,000 ABF Teamsters, and in the context of years of continuing sacrifice by our members at YRC, that YRC would advance a secret effort to acquire ABF's freight division,” he said.
Hoffa said the move was especially bothersome because Teamsters Union members who work for YRC have made wage and benefit concessions as the carrier struggled with financial problems, even coming close to filing for bankruptcy protection on more than one occassion.
"Before YRC begins looking for acquisition targets they should first restore our members' wages and pension contributions. We have seen this kind of arrogance from YRC before,” Hoffa said. “We thought they had finally learned the lessons of past management catastrophes. Unfortunately it appears they have not. We want to give credit to ABF for rejecting this gambit, and we now will demand from YRC a full accounting of the calculations and decisions that went into their latest misstep.”
On Wednesday it was discovered YRC made a bid for the fellow less-than-truckload carrier in late March that included a meeting between high-ranking officials from both companies.
Thursday YRC Worldwide confirmed the meeting, saying the “timing was not right” for such a deal, but also indicating it is still interested in pursuing ABF.
Recently the Teamsters and ABF reached a tentative five-year labor agreement that still faces approval by union workers at the carrier. Both sides extended the talks twice, taking the current contract past its original expiration.