Yellow employees who were expecting what are likely their final paychecks Thursday will instead receive them Friday, according to a company official.
“Employees who are on a weekly pay schedule and are normally paid on Thursday will be paid on Friday this week, one day late due to the court hearing,” the official told FreightWaves in an emailed statement.
Four truck drivers and dockworkers based around the U.S. told FreightWaves that they had not received their final paychecks, which they expected Thursday. Some former employees of Yellow sounded off on social media and messaging boards Thursday, frustrated that they had not received their final paychecks.
Yellow, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday, laid off most of its staff of about 30,000 employees over the past few weeks. Approximately 23,000 of those workers are represented by the Teamsters, according to its Monday bankruptcy filing. The company ceased regular operations on July 28, as FreightWaves first reported.
Truck driver William Stephens is one of those laid-off employees represented by Teamsters. He worked for the trucking giant for seven years at a Columbus, Ohio, terminal.
When he checked his payroll portal on Tuesday, he was happy to see a final pay stub from Yellow. The payment, according to a document viewed by FreightWaves, was supposed to cover days worked between July 23 and July 29.
However, when Stephens checked his bank account on Thursday, there was no payment from Yellow. And his employee portal access was shut down.
The Yellow company official wrote in a statement that the company is doing “all it can to provide employees with compensation to which they are entitled.” Yellow also pointedly blamed Teamsters leadership for the company’s closure.
“IBT leadership is solely responsible for destroying 30,000 jobs,” the spokesperson said. “Yellow was forced to file for bankruptcy on August 6th as a result of the IBT’s nine month refusal to negotiate the company’s long-planned modernization effort, One Yellow, which included significant pay raises for employees. Sadly, Teamster leaders did not care enough about Yellow’s union employees to discuss their contract until after the IBT had driven away all business and it was too late. Yellow fought until the end to save employees’ jobs. Yellow is working through the bankruptcy process. The timing of this process and legal determinations are not under the company’s control. Yellow will do all it can to provide employees with compensation to which they are entitled.”
Meanwhile, the Teamsters wrote in a statement on Sunday that Yellow “abandoned its entire workforce” with its Chapter 11 filing. The organization noted that it would support members through the bankruptcy proceedings.
“Our members’ loss of work at Yellow was no fault of their own. They should be the first in line for real relief as bankruptcy moves forward,” said John A. Murphy, Teamsters national freight director. “While Yellow’s closure represents one last shameful act by a greedy employer, the Teamsters will never desert our brothers and sisters. We will do everything we can to prioritize our members at Yellow and their families during forthcoming bankruptcy proceedings.”
Yellow nearly filed for bankruptcy several times over the past 15 years. Teamsters estimates that, since 2009, its members have given away more than $5 billion in wage and benefit concessions to support Yellow. Most recently, the trucking company received a $700 million loan from the U.S. Treasury in 2020 to avoid collapse.
For Stephens, the lack of communication has come as yet another disappointment during these last few weeks of Yellow’s shutdown.
“No one ever called me or anyone in Columbus or anything about being laid off,” Stephens said. “We never got a notice in the mail. Nothing. We went to work and saw the gates locked. It’s just disappointing – you would think a big company like that would at least notify you that you don’t have a job anymore.”
A dockworker in Oklahoma City, who asked that her name not be printed as she looks for another job, is also waiting for her last check. She said she learned she was out of a job from a piece of paper taped to a stop sign at her terminal stating company operations had ceased.
Vacation time pay remains in limbo for former Yellow employees
Two laid-off Yellow employees who were not represented by Teamsters told FreightWaves that they did receive their final paychecks last Friday. However, they said they did not receive payment for unused vacation time. Yellow wrote in its separation agreement dated July 28 that laid-off employees would receive payment for unused vacation “[a]s soon as administratively practicable.”
Eight Teamsters members who previously worked at Yellow also said they had not received payment for accrued vacation time. Another truck driver based near Columbus, Ohio, who had worked for Yellow for 19 years said he has about four weeks of unused PTO. Arcadio Gonzlalez, a former Yellow employee based in Wheeling, Illinois, said he has some 130 hours unpaid — roughly equal to more than three weeks of unpaid vacation.
Yellow revealed in a Monday bankruptcy filing that it would seek $92.9 million to pay outstanding PTO. However, it’s immediately asking $8,725,000 to pay wages. It’s unclear how much of those wages will go toward recently laid-off employees or Yellow’s “core group” of around 1,650 remaining employees.
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