Recently the trucking company, Yellow Corp., declared bankruptcy amidst declines in business and failure to meet Teamsters’ demands. The trucking company had had long-standing issues with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters union, and some feel that led to the ultimate demise of the trucking company. The bankruptcy of Yellow Corp left 22,000 Teamsters’ contracted drivers out of work. Yellow is also currently working on suing the Teamsters, a case they started in June, and are still pursuing following their bankruptcy.
While Yellow is seeking financial paybacks from the International Brotherhood, Teamsters is seeking reform that would affect corporate bankruptcy laws and thus affect them as well.
The Teamsters are pushing for regulations that would protect the existing collective agreements in order to ensure contracts remain honored, even after one party declares bankruptcy. This means that if another investor comes along and buys up what is left of Yellow Corp, the prior agreement made between Yellow, and the Teamsters would still be standing.
This previously happened to the confectionary company, Hostess, which declared bankruptcy in 2012. They were bought by an investment company who cut the union agreement and now their employees are non-union.
The Teamsters want to change this law to protect the working-class people. Without protections from the states and from unions, a lot of people end up going underpaid and underappreciated.
Since 2009 when Yellow Corp really started showing signs of struggle, the Teamsters have given the trucking company a total nearing around $5 billion. Their attempts to work with the trucking company ultimately led to the demise of the relationship between the company and the union, and some believe led to the demise of Yellow Corp as well.
The Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien has gone on record to speak against the current laws in place for corporate bankruptcy, saying the “legislation in the U.S. is a joke.” He went on to explain that the laws favor the companies rather than the people and because of that, the people suffer greatly. He is calling for improvements, saying that “workers need real relief and protection.”
Ultimately, the Teamsters union is calling for the government to pass laws that will help protect the people over the companies.