July 26, 2023

Yellow limits pickups nationwide, leaked memo says


Yellow appears to be halting pickups in some areas of the Northeast, as well as Ohio, California and Texas, according to account executives who spoke to FreightWaves anonymously and company communication shared with FreightWaves. 

Nationwide, Yellow said in a memo sent to employees and shared to FreightWaves on Tuesday it was “limiting” pickup operations in all terminals. 

One employee shared the email from Yellow management, which was signed “Company Communication” and sent to “All Yellow Employees”:

“The threat of a strike on Monday, July 17, led to catastrophic shipment declines last week as customers needed to ensure their shipments could be serviced without interruption and not caught up in a strike of undetermined length.

“As a result of these unfortunate circumstances and the impact on the network, we are limiting pick-up operations in all terminals. Over the coming days, the Company is focused on delivering existing shipments in the network to its valued customers and communicating with our employees on new developments while we continue working an accelerated process with union discussions.”

Two account executives based in different states in the Northeast shared that Yellow Chief Commercial Officer Jason Bergman had told sales employees on a Monday call that Yellow would be servicing freight as usual and to inform clients that the company would be resuming pickups.

Tuesday afternoon, those employees said their bosses had instructed them and their colleagues to go home and that the company is ceasing pickups for the rest of the day.

“I was told the future is very uncertain,” one Northeast account executive told FreightWaves. “It’s just unfortunate. Sunday night, it was a big thing for us to get back to our customers and say, ‘Hey, everything is all well and good’ — just for a day later to not pick up freight.”

Yellow did not immediately return a request for comment.

Three truck drivers based in other regions, including the Midwest and Southeast, said on Tuesday their terminals are continuing pickups but have reduced freight levels and employee levels. However, truck drivers based in Ohio and California told FreightWaves on Tuesday they have been told to cease pickups. A Teamsters steward in Texas shared with FreightWaves an image from a Yellow driver’s device to cease pickups:

Central States Pension and Health Funds, which covers about half of Yellow’s Teamsters employees, informed workers on July 17 that Yellow had missed its June contribution and would withhold its July contribution. That enabled Teamsters to notify Yellow that they would strike July 24 if that payment is not made. Late Sunday, Central States said it would give Yellow a 30-day extension on its benefit payment, punting the risk of a strike.

However, many customers already pulled their freight from Yellow as they feared the company could go bankrupt. The company has financially struggled since the Great Recession. According to a Morgan Stanley survey of transportation executives published Monday, 97% of shippers who work with Yellow said they had already shifted or were considering shifting loans to another trucking company.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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