Former Yellow drivers denied jobs over concerns about their previous ties to the union, truckers say.
Yellow Freight declared bankruptcy and shut its doors back in August. Now, thousands of truck drivers are on the hunt for new jobs, and many say they are being turned down.
Union positions are somewhat rare in the trucking industry, but a majority of Yellow employees were in the Teamsters union. As these drivers seek out new positions, companies are wary of hiring them over concerns about union ties and their effect on relationships between employees and employers, as well as between union and non union employees, reported Marketplace.
In the months leading up to Yellow’s closure, the Teamsters and Yellow were already at odds over Yellow’s failure to pay employees’ health benefits on time. After Yellow missed the extended deadline to pay up, the Teamsters threatened to strike.
At the last 11th hour, lo and behold, they suddenly said, ‘OK, we’ve got the money,’” said Tracy Cullen, who drove for Yellow for 40 years.
Shortly after Yellow agreed to pay, they announced they were shutting down, blaming the Teamsters for the closure and leaving drivers like Cullen without any of the benefits they were promised.
“All workers and employers should take note of our experience with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and worry,” said Yellow’s Chief Executive Officer, Darren Hawkins, in a statement.
“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 sentiment of this statement – the fear that more drivers might unionize – is what is preventing truckers like Cullen from finding new driving jobs.
“I was told by two companies — straight up by two companies — they said, ‘If you had not worked for Yellow, I would hire you tomorrow,’” said Chris Dowdy, another former Yellow driver.
Dowdy says he has sent out dozens of job applications and has gone more than a month without a paycheck, forcing his wife to take on a second job while he continues to look for work.
“That’s the thing that has been boggling my mind, because back in the day when I came in, like when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, you were fired on Friday, you were hired on Monday,” Dowdy said.