Jason Williams reports:
One of the nation’s largest trucking companies is planning to shut down its West Chester hub and distribution center, leaving almost 300 workers in limbo.
YRC Freight has informed a local union that the company plans to close a significant portion of its local operations as part of a nationwide strategy to consolidate operations, according to a 132-page document YRC Freight sent to union leaders across the nation this week.
The plan would leave 279 local truck drivers, mechanics and dock workers with the option to relocate hundreds of miles away or be out of work by late spring, said union representative Butch Lewis.
“It’s devastating,” said Lewis, president of the Teamsters Union Local No. 100 in Cincinnati. “This has always been a profitable location. Our guys are shocked, and they’re very, very angry, too.”
Lewis said YRC Freight’s plan calls for all of the local workers to be given the option to relocate, with Indianapolis being the closest option. The document, obtained by The Enquirer, says employees would receive between $2,500 and $4,000 to cover relocation expenses.
“A lot of our guys have already been transferred into the city from Buffalo, Toledo, Detroit, Akron and Columbus” during other restructuring phases, Lewis said. “Now they’re going to have to pick up and go somewhere else in the company if they choose to.”
Lewis said he is not sure how many employees would look to relocate.
YRC Freight, a subsidiary of Overland Park, Kan.-based YRC Worldwide, confirmed in a news release that it’s working with union leadership on “realigning” its network. The company said it is working on scheduling a meeting with union representatives in April and expects the realignment to begin in May. The plan requires union approval.
Lewis said YRC has about 450 local employees, and the company plans to continue its local delivery operations. The proposal is to close the bulk terminal – used as part of the national freight network – at 10074 Princeton Glendale Road. Most of that freight would be redistributed to the Indianapolis hub, according to the document.
YRC has undergone several significant changes in recent years. In 2008, YRC Worldwide merged its two largest trucking brands, Yellow and Roadway. In 2011, YRC reportedly nearly avoided having to file for bankruptcy after struggling during the economic downturn. In recent months, the Fortune 500 company has restructured regional offices and leadership.
“The ongoing effort to optimize our network is a key part of our sustainability efforts as we reduce mileage and emissions,” Jeff Rogers, president of YRC Freight, said in a news release. “Better density means fewer empty miles and less emissions.”
YRC Worldwide is the nation’s fourth-largest trucking company in terms of revenue, according to Transport Topics, a publication of the American Trucking Association. The company generated $4.9 billion in revenue in 2011. UPS, FedEx and Con-way are the largest companies.