Industry /

Trucking Company Yellow Corp. Declares Bankruptcy Amid Lawsuit With Teamsters

'All workers and employers should take note of our experience with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters,' said CEO Darren Hawkins

A nearly hundred-year-old trucking company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware and largely fixed blame on the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Yellow Corp., a trucking company based in Nashville, Tennessee, said 30,000 jobs will be lost as a result of the filing.

“It is with profound disappointment that Yellow announces that it is closing after nearly 100 years in business,” said Darren Hawkins, the Chief Executive Officer of Yellow in a press release. “Today, it is not common for someone to work at one company for 20, 30, or even 40 years, yet many at Yellow did. For generations, Yellow provided hundreds of thousands of Americans with solid, good-paying jobs and fulfilling careers.”

The company is one of America’s largest less-than-truckload carriers that works with companies like Walmart, Home Deport and Uber Freight to ship goods across the country. It is currently $1.5 billion in debt, per The Hill

As part of the company’s wind-down, Yellow will work with a debtor-in-possession financing facility which will provide “needed liquidity which will be used to support the businesses throughout the marketing and sale process,” according to the company’s Aug. 6 statement.

Hawkins said that Yellow had spent recent years trying to “modernize operations to compete with non-union carriers that increasingly dominated the industry” and rolled out a new business plan – known as One Yellow – to increase compensation and create new jobs.

“All workers and employers should take note of our experience with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (“IBT”) and worry,” said Hawkins. “We faced nine months of union intransigence, bullying and deliberately destructive tactics. A company has the right to manage its own operations, but as we have experienced, IBT leadership was able to halt our business plan, literally driving our company out of business, despite every effort to work with them.” 

The company’s statement describes efforts to work with the union and the IBT’s “ruthless campaign” which included “public insults” and “public taunts … for Yellow’s demise and was intended to put Yellow out of business.” Yellow said the IBT circulated a post on social media of a tombstone with the company’s name and the dates 1924-2023.

Yellow sued IBT on June 26 for breach of contract and loss of enterprise value, saying the delay in implementing One Yellow had cost the company $137 million in losses. The lawsuit is still under consideration in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas.

Yellow says it is committed to helping its employees find new work and is working with the American Trucking Association to launch a job database to streamline their transitions.

The IBT released its own statement on Aug. 7 saying Yellow has “abandoned its entire workforce one more time” by filing for bankruptcy and denounced “any attempt by the company to evade its financial obligations through legal maneuvers.”

“Teamster families sacrificed billions of dollars in wages, benefits, and retirement security to rescue Yellow. The company blew through a $700 million government bailout. But Yellow’s dysfunctional, greedy C-suite failed to take responsibility for squandering all that cash,” said Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien. “They shamelessly pin their corporate incompetence on working people. … This is a reminder of why workers’ ability to organize and collectively bargain is so crucial to protecting and creating good jobs in America.”

The IBT says Yellow has been “plagued by financial trouble” for almost 20 years and mismanaged money attained through a COVID-19 pandemic relief loan, which gave the federal government 30% stake in the trucking company. 

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