Yellow Trucking Hits a Ditch; Latching Their Gates After 99 Years

Vitpho /
Vitpho /

July 30th was a dark day in history for the shipping and labor industry in the United States. After 99 years in service, Yellow was forced to take a knee against the debt they had worked up and their long-standing battle with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), per a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report.

With contracts for Amazon, Walmart, and numerous small businesses who shared in their signature service, Yellow and their 12,000 truck force was a massive part of the nation.

At the tip-top of their services was the Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping model. For decades, shipping companies would only take one order per truck. They found that single truck shipments kept the logistics more streamlined, even if delivery might take longer as you waited to fill a truckload. Yet here came Yellow, with their innovation to take anything that needed freight and got it moved across this great nation.

With 30,000 employees when the gates shut for a final time, they also counted 22,000 IBT members among them. With this many people suddenly out of work, this represents the largest collapse in US trucking to date. Both in terms of the number of jobs lost and the amount of revenue that dried up. With shipping dropping significantly in 2023, Yellow saw the bottom for rates fall out, and people were still unable to afford moving goods. From December to June alone, the WSJ reports that they went from a $235 million cash reserve to just $100 million.

Gross mismanagement of funds was a dramatic problem for the company. Carrying $1.5 billion in debt as of March, $729.2 million was taken up by the federal government alone, per Fortune Magazine. During the COVID pandemic, President Trump threw them a $700 million lifeline as part of the COVID-19 Rescue Plan. In his words, this was a matter of national security.

A Congressional oversight report claims the US Treasury has declared they “made missteps” when they chose to give Yellow the money. They claimed the “precarious financial position at the time of the loan and continued struggles expose taxpayers to a significant risk of loss,” and the loss the taxpayers did do.

Despite that sentiment, this was not a failure of the employees. Nor was much of the management at fault. Rather, this is a fault of the Biden regime. Their continuous push against American-owned and run businesses has destroyed the American way of life. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg did nothing to try and use Yellow to help as containers stacked up at ports.

Instead, they have turned their nose up at the idea of restoring American businesses, choosing to go with foreign-based or green-first competitors. While these companies might cut a few pennies, they ultimately cost American jobs and often cause the most accidents on the road. Now, as a result, the company is looking at full-on bankruptcy and is in discussions of selling off all or parts of the business.

A decision like this is not reached easily or lightly. For the members of the workforce, many knew this was likely coming. The IBT kept them well informed of their demands and how much they wanted to see coming for their workers. Demands like they were making were not exorbitant, but they weren’t the easiest to reach, especially given the cost of doing business and the decline in demand.

If anything, the direction IBT was guiding its members in might not have been the best choice. While their demands were in line with reasonable expectations at other times, the decline in shipments, the rise in fuel charges, and an older fleet needing replacement, they had simply become unable to keep up with IBT and still be profitable. In the end, it’s the IBT leadership and the liberals who won here.