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Teamsters call off strike at trucking company with KC ties after deal to keep benefits

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Teamsters from Yellow Corporation announced Monday that The Central States Health and Welfare fund will extend health care benefits for workers at the trucking company, at least temporarily averting a strike, according to a press release from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Union members had planned to strike starting midnight on Sunday due to the companies’ plans to end health care and retirement benefits for workers and their families.

On Friday, The Star reported a federal judge in Kansas ruled in favor of the Teamsters, saying they had a right to strike as part of their labor dispute.

The Central States fund had previously planned to end healthcare benefits starting July 23. However, after discussions with Teamster leadership, they agreed to give Yellow 30 days to pay the obligated benefit payments of $50 million.

Yellow has agreed to those terms and plans to make those payments within the next two weeks, according to the press release.

However, Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien wants to meet with Yellow representatives to review the current contracts and ensure the health care benefits will be paid for the workers at the company.

“Teamsters at Yellow simply work too hard and have already given so much,” O’Brien said, indicating in the press release that the reversal by Central States will keep health care benefits paid and hardworking Teamsters on the job for the time being.

The company previously operated from Overland Park, prior to moving its headquarters to downtown Nashville. The company is committed to maintaining a sizable local workforce and signed a 15-year lease on new offices at the former Sprint Campus in Overland Park, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.

Last year, federal officials were asked to investigate if the company broke federal law by securing a $700 million loan through a federal pandemic aid program. The New York Times recently reported that Yellow has “more than $1.5 billion in outstanding debt, including the government loan.”

“We are seeking a real resolution, but let this solution today serve as a profound reminder that our members can only endure so many sacrifices,” O’Brien said in the press release issued Monday.

O’Brien plans to meet with Yellow in Washington, DC Sunday evening.

The Star’s Luke Nozicka contributed to this reporting.