Teamsters notified Yellow has ceased operations, will file bankruptcy

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Updated Jul 31, 2023
A couple Yellow employees walking
Yellow narrowly avoided a work stoppage July 24 that almost certainly would have lead to financial ruin but the possibility of stranded freight spooked many of Yellow's shipper customers and sent them running to other carrier partners.
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The Teamsters Union said Sunday evening it has been served legal notice that Yellow Corp. (CCJ Top 250, No. 6) will cease operations and file for bankruptcy – a move Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said was "unfortunate but not surprising."

The Teamsters and Yellow have had at-times a volatile relationship for going on 15 years, but this year it devolved into finger-pointing and lawsuits. Teamsters represent roughly 22,000 Yellow employees. 

"Yellow has historically proven that it could not manage itself despite billions of dollars in worker concessions and hundreds of millions in bailout funding from the federal government. This is a sad day for workers and the American freight industry," O’Brien said. "The Teamsters are committed to ensuring members are protected and notified with all the latest information. The International is putting infrastructure in place to help affected members get the assistance they need to find good union jobs throughout freight and other industries."

CCJ has reached out to Yellow for comment. 

Yellow narrowly avoided a work stoppage July 24 that almost certainly would have led to financial ruin, but the possibility of stranded freight was enough to spook many of Yellow's shipper customers and sent them running to other carrier partners. 

The motor carrier and the union had been locked in a battle over a makeover of Yellow's network. Dubbed One Yellow, the goal was for the company to emerge as a lean "super-regional carrier." Phase 1, integrating the linehaul networks of YRC Freight and Reddaway in the Western region to support both regional and long-haul services, was completed last year with approval from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). However, IBT threw up a roadblock over Phases 2 and 3, which included the alignment of operations in the Northeast, Midwest, Southeast and Central regions set to take place this year. 

Yellow claims the delay in rollout has cost the company in excess of $137 million since late last year. The carrier in June filed a lawsuit against IBT to recoup the damages, and last week said the union shouldered blame for Yellow's precarious financial state

O’Brien has maintained that union members had repeatedly made concessions to the carrier since at least 2009, taking pay reductions and reductions in benefits, in order to help keep the company afloat, and were unwilling to ease Yellow's ongoing transformation without some clawbacks and guarantees. 

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]. 
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