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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

30 000 Left Jobless as Nashville based Trucking Company Ceases Operations

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Nashville’s trucking industry has been dealt a severe blow as the venerable Yellow trucking company, a century-old institution, officially ceased operations on Sunday.

This unfortunate turn of events left a staggering number of employees, estimated to be around 30,000, jobless and uncertain about their futures.

Just a few months prior, Yellow found itself mired in financial turmoil, with a daunting debt of approximately $1.5 billion.

Nashville's trucking industry has been dealt a severe blow as the venerable Yellow trucking company, a century-old institution, officially ceased operations on Sunday
Yellow trucking company in Nashville ceased operations on Sunday. Photo: Fox News

This precarious situation weighed heavily on the minds of dedicated truckers who had spent years, and in some cases decades, working for the company.

Disheartened employees shared their grievances with FOX 17 News, expressing a sense of betrayal and disappointment towards the company they had devoted their careers to.

One such employee, Danny Smallridge, who had served the company for an impressive 32 years, voiced his frustration, saying, “Shame on yellow. Shame on them for letting 33,000 members go, you know?” Danny’s sentiment resonated with many, as he continued, “22,000 members and 10,000 other people will lose everything they had, possibly.

Shame on them. They gotta lay their head down on the pillow at night [after] what they squandered all this money away.”

Despite receiving a substantial $700 million loan from the government during the pandemic, Yellow struggled to weather the storm, and mismanagement appeared to be a significant factor in their downfall.

Grisham, president of teamsters local union 480, pointed out, “Even with their concessions and the $700 million CARES Act, that couldn’t overcome the mismanagement of this company.”

As Yellow’s financial situation worsened, tensions escalated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), the union representing many of the company’s employees.

A press release on Yellow’s website laid blame on the union, accusing them of breaching the bargaining agreement, which led to the company’s inability to make timely payments to workers’ pensions.

Yellow’s management and the union ended up in a legal dispute, and the union threatened to strike.

Danny Smallridge lamented the situation, saying, “They won’t pay the bill, so, we’re gonna go out and strike, we’d give them another 30 days to try to get yourself together. They tried to try to sue the union, which is a joke.” The strike further affected Yellow’s business, causing clients to sever ties with the company, ultimately leading to the decision to cease operations on Sunday.

Critics, however, pointed out that it was unjust for Yellow to shift blame onto the union. Grisham defended the IBT, stating, “It’s pretty insulting for the company at this time to point fingers at the Teamsters and say you’re the blame. The Teamsters are the only reason this company has survived as long as they have.”

Moreover, Yellow’s representatives claimed that the union refused to engage in dialogue to work out a viable plan that could have saved the company.

As uncertainty loomed over Yellow’s future, analysts speculated about the possibility of the company filing for bankruptcy.

In a detailed statement, Yellow expressed their efforts to meet with the IBT in good faith and sought assistance from various stakeholders, including the Biden Administration, to save the company and the livelihoods of its 30,000 employees.

Read | Court orders trucking company to remove driver-facing cameras

However, the union’s leadership remained unyielding in their refusal to negotiate Yellow’s long-planned modernization efforts.

The situation remained tense as the company’s closure had far-reaching implications for its employees, investors, and customers. Completion of One Yellow in 2023, a critical project for Yellow’s survival, faced obstacles due to the union’s actions.

In addition to the immediate job losses, the closure could result in the loss of approximately $1.5 billion in enterprise value.

Despite the allegations and blame game between Yellow and the IBT, the closure of the iconic trucking company left a sense of sorrow and uncertainty in Nashville’s trucking community.

For the former employees of Yellow, the sudden joblessness has forced them to contemplate their futures and seek new opportunities in an already competitive job market.

The impact of this event reverberated throughout the region, underscoring the vulnerability of businesses, even those with a century-old legacy, in the face of financial challenges and labor disputes.

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