The same leadership team that ran one of the largest less-than-truckload operations into the ground rewarded themselves with bonuses topping $4.6 million. As Yellow Trucking makes its way through the bankruptcy process, 30,000 workers lost their jobs. One trucker was reportedly stranded away from home and cut off from company per diem expenses.
“This is a sad day for workers and the American freight industry,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien reportedly said after 22,000 union members lost their jobs.
Reports indicate a $2 million bonus was approved by Yellow’s board of directors in June, as financial strains rose and union negotiations soured. The remaining executives got paid on July 31, the day after Yellow shut its doors and was planning its bankruptcy filing. Adding insult to injury, reports indicate the so-called leadership team doled out larger bonuses as the doors shuttered than they would if the operation stayed open. The echoes of Michael Douglas saying “Greed is good” in the movie Wall Street come to mind.
Weeks before declaring bankruptcy, the company dished out what some are calling “retention bonuses.” Chief Restructuring Officer Matthew Doheny received $1 million, Chief Operating Officer Darrel Harris pocketed $1.08 million, and Chief Executive Officer Darren Hawkins enjoyed a $625,000 disbursement. Other white-collar workers got severance packages ranging from $23,000 to $249,000. For their years of dedicated hard work and service, truckers got a one-way ticket to the unemployment office.
And it’s entirely possible Yellow shareholders could see another round of exit money. Freight carriers and others are making offers on assets of the nearly 100-year-old operation. Yellow reportedly sold off 42,000 trailers, 12,000 tractors, and other items. Its assets have a total estimated value of $2.1 billion. The organization’s debt has been pegged at $1.2 billion, including a $700 million taxpayer-funded pandemic loan.
Estes Express Line recently upped its bid on Yellow’s chain of 170 terminals to $1.525 billion. The brick-and-mortar facilities have an estimated value of between $900 million and $1.1 billion, according to reports.
“The Estes stalking horse bid is an improvement over the Old Dominion bid because it offers more money for the acquired assets and less fees in terms of bid protections,” Yellow noted in its recent bankruptcy filing.
Should the outstanding debt be resolved through the fire sale of its assets, profits are expected to be distributed.