Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

The almost century-old trucking company shut down on Sunday ahead of bankruptcy.

July 31, 2023

After staving off the Teamster strike last week, Yellow shut down on Sunday and intends to file for bankruptcy, according to The Wall Street Journal. An estimated 30,000 employees, union and nonunion, are at risk if Yellow closes its doors for good. While Yellow stopped taking new shipments as of Friday, customers had been finding alternative carriers in recent weeks.

The Journal reports, “In a memo Friday, the Teamsters told union locals that the ‘likelihood that Yellow will survive is increasingly bleak.’ The union urged members to take their tools and personal belongings home so items don’t get stuck behind locked doors following a bankruptcy filing.”

The freight carrier started as a taxi company in 1924 in Oklahoma City but filed for bankruptcy in 1951. George Powell, a banker from Missouri, bought the company and transitioned it into a long-haul shipping company alongside the construction of the highway system in the fifties.

Over the years, Yellow purchased several competitors and slowly merged them into the business. But bankruptcy loomed on several occasions. Known as YRC Worldwide at the time, the lockdown forced factory shutdowns, and the company began to feel the pressure of keeping up with its loans from previous mergers. The LTL company received a $700 million Covid-era loan to keep its doors open, “It’s a new day. We’ve just got to not blow it up,” then YRC Chief Financial Officer Jamie Pierson said in an interview in 2020, according to The Wall Street Journal.