January 5, 2015: The YRCW Board of Directors, including two nominated by James Hoffa, has handed the top two executives a $10 million bonus.
“What happened to ‘equality of sacrifice’” asked Frank Fullerton, a YRC road driver out of Local 728 Atlanta. “This is a slap in the face to every YRC employee and retiree, who has given up wages, pensions and vacations. And the IBT goes along – one more reason to dump Hoffa for a new leadership.”
The YRCW board terminated and then rehired CEO James Welch and Chief Financial Officer Jamie Pierson. This gimmick let them collect a severance package that included stock due to their “termination.” The board claimed they needed a more “traditional compensation package” going forward.
Welch was awarded a severance package that included stock shares worth $6.2 million at current valuation and Pierson received stock worth about $4 million. The filing with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) did not report whether salaries were changed under the new agreement, but the “traditional compensation” surely means a fat raise. In 2013, Welch got $2,170.630 and Pierson got $1,999,223. YRC’s drivers, dock workers, clerks and mechanics would also like a “traditional compensation” package!
UPDATED January 5, 2015: YRCW has issued a response to media reports on the two execs which states in part that, “The CEO and CFO did not receive any severance pay in association with the cancellation of their employment agreements; they simply entered into severance agreements that would dictate terms in the event a termination happened at some point in the future.” So it appears those severance payments are delayed.
In his 2014 state of the union address, President Obama kicked off what could unofficially be dubbed the Year of the Minimum Wage. Just a year earlier, he had called for a $9 federal minimum, but there he was in early 2014, saying workers should earn at least $10.10 an hour. The shift shows how coordinated campaigns for higher wages, which started with fast-food workers and spread more broadly, raised expectations of what’s considered fair compensation.
Obama’s call to raise the federal minimum may have gone unanswered, but states and cities picked up the torch. In 2014, 13 states passed legislation or initiatives to raise the wage floor, not just in Democratic strongholds but in red states as well. Now the results of those campaigns are starting to come to fruition nationwide. About 3.6 million people will see their pay go up for the new year, according to an analysis of census data by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), which supports higher minimum pay.
Click here to read more at Bloomberg.Issues: Labor Movement
Conservative groups are opening a new front in their effort to reshape American law, arguing that local governments have the power to write their own rules on a key labor issue that has, up to now, been the prerogative of states.
Beginning here in the hometown of Senator Rand Paul and the Chevy Corvette, groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and a newly formed nonprofit called Protect My Check are working together to influence local governments the same way they have influenced state legislatures, and anti-union ordinances are just the first step in the coordinated effort they envision.
Click here to read more at The New York Times.Issues: Labor Movement
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Friday, the less-than-truckload carrier (Nasdaq: YRCW) announced that the company's board approved termination of Welch and Pierson's current employment agreements to grant them a new, more competitive package in 2015.
Click here to read more at the Kansas City Business Journal.Issues: Freight
Monthly Transport Trader. Our Transport Trader report is a monthly review of transport stock performance. We show transport performance vs. the S&P 500 and other sectors, sub-sector performance (e.g. rail vs. truck), comparable stock performance (e.g. FDX vs. UPS), and individual stock performance vs. the market and peer group.
Transports Give a Little Back in December, with Some Signs of Mean Reversion. Our WR Transport index fell 0.7% in Dec. and slightly underperformed the S&P 500 for the first time in 4 months. TL stocks continued to outperform as the clearest winners from lower fuel (i.e. stronger consumer and net fuel savings), while LTL and Express stocks lagged the most. Asset-light stocks (UACL, RRTS and FWRD) outperformed last month after lagging earlier in the year, but LSTR was the worst transport stock in Dec. after strong gains earlier in the year.
But Transports Still Strongly Outperformed in 2014. Our Transport index was up 20% in ‘14, outperforming the S&P by more than 800bp and trailing only Utility and Health Care sector performance for the year. TL and LTL stocks were by far the best (8 of the top 9 stocks in our coverage were trucking stocks), followed by the Rails, Express carriers, Freight Forwarders and lastly the Truck OEM’s. Our best performing transport stocks were CVTI, KNX and SAIA, while our worst stocks were UTIW,RRTS and NAV.
Some Interesting Stats of the Year. Rail stocks outperformed the S&P 500 for the 14th straight year, led by UNP which has now overtaken UPS as the largest transport company (by market cap). FDX outperformed UPS for the 3rd straight year while Freight Forwarders underperformed the market for the 4th straight year. Trucking stocks outperformed for the 2nd straight year, and TL was the best performing transport sub-sector for the first time since ‘08.
A Look Ahead with Our Top Transport Stock Ideas for 2015: Rail and Truck capacity remain very tight, so pricing should be very strong this year and we believe Transport stocks can continue to outperform to begin the year. We believe TL remains best positioned entering the year, and our favorite TL stock is SWFT. While crude-by-rail has become a risk, we still expect CP to show the best EPS growth among the Rails this year, while FDX should benefit from lower costs and stronger Express vols in a lower fuel environment. WAB remains our favorite multi-year growth story, and our best special situations idea is UTIW as a potential turnaround or take-out story.Issues: Freight