The Teamsters Union and the freight companies of YRC Worldwide announced they have reached a tentative agreement to modify the current labor agreement for employees covered by the National Master Freight Agreement.

"This agreement will help the company get through this deepening recession and protect the jobs and health, welfare and pension benefits of our freight Teamsters," said Tyson Johnson, director of the Teamsters National Freight Division, in a statement. "This is a very difficult time for our members, but this agreement will protect the livelihoods of our members and their families, which is our number one priority."

Bill Zollars, Chairman, President and CEO of YRC Worldwide, commented in a statement, "The industry decline in volumes and pricing is continuing in the current quarter, affecting our profits and cash flow and our ability to pay down debt from operating funds. The modification to the agreement, which we expect to be ratified in December, will establish a more competitive cost structure allowing us to accelerate our market share recovery and capitalize on opportunities for future growth, while at the same time, defending the long-term prospects and job security of our employees."

The details of the agreement will be discussed on Wednesday, Dec. 3, with leaders of local unions that represent members from the YRCW companies - Yellow Transportation, Roadway, USF Holland and New Penn. If the local leaders approve the plan, Teamster freight members will be asked to ratify the agreement next month. About 40,000 Teamster drivers, dockworkers, clerical employees and others are actively employed at the companies.

"I believe our freight members understand the terrible economic conditions that are battering the trucking industry," said Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President. "We are facing the worst economic environment since the Great Depression. We all need to work together to get through this period of uncertainty. This agreement will help protect tens of thousands of our members' jobs. Failing to act now would be a grave mistake."