Employees who are part of the union at Mack Trucks commenced a strike on Monday. This action was taken after they rejected a proposed five-year contract that had been agreed upon by negotiators and the company.
The United Auto Workers reported that 4,000 workers who are part of the union went on strike at 7 a.m., contributing to the ongoing labor unrest in the industry, which has affected all three major automakers based in Detroit.
The union stated on Monday that the current number of UAW members participating in strikes has surpassed 30,000 across 22 states, including those workers who recently joined the picket lines.
In a letter addressed to Volvo Trucks, Shawn Fain, the Union President, reported that the deal was rejected by 73% of the workers in the voting results announced on Sunday.
The UAW represents employees of Mack in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida. Union leaders had come to a tentative agreement on the deal on October 1st.
UAW Locals 171, 677, 1247, 2301, and 2420 in UAW Region 8 and Region 9 represent workers at Mack Trucks in Macungie and Middletown, Pennsylvania; Hagerstown and Baltimore, Maryland; and Jacksonville, Florida.
The deal negotiators had reached with Mack just over a week ago included a 19 per cent pay raise over the life of the contract with 10 per cent upon ratification. There also was a $3,500 ratification bonus, no increase in weekly health care contributions, increased annual lump sum payments for retirees and a $1,000 annual 401(k) lump sum to offset health care costs for employees who don’t get health insurance after retirement.
The commencement of the strike is scheduled for Monday.
In his letter to the head of labour relations at Volvo Trucks, Fain stated that on Monday mornings, employees would leave the factories after completing necessary tasks to ensure the company equipment is not damaged.
Fain stated that UAW members and employees nationwide are striving for equitable compensation and perks.
He stated that the company and union have not reached an agreement on various matters including work schedules, health and safety, pensions, health care, prescription drug coverage, overtime, and other issues.
The contract may have been sunk by high expectations Fain has set in bargaining with Detroit’s three automakers. In those talks, the UAW has asked for 36 per cent raises over four years, while Ford has offered 23 per cent and the other two firms are at 20 per cent.
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“I find it inspiring to witness the determination of UAW members at Mack Trucks, as they strive for a more favorable agreement and are prepared to take action by going on strike in order to achieve it,” stated Fain. “Ultimately, the members hold the ultimate decision-making power, and it is through their unity and effective organization that a just contract will be obtained at Mack.”
In a statement on Sunday night, Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy expressed his surprise and disappointment over the union’s decision to go on strike. He mentioned that the union referred to the tentative agreement as a milestone for the heavy truck industry. The statement also emphasized that the company’s market, business, and competition differ significantly from that of passenger car manufacturers, and they hope that other parties recognize this.
According to his writing, Mack is a member of the exclusive group that manufactures both their trucks and engines in the U.S. for the North American market. They face competition from trucks made in countries with lower production costs.
According to the statement, the company is dedicated to engaging in negotiations as a group and is optimistic that both parties will come to an agreement that provides fair salaries and perks, all the while ensuring the company’s long-term sustainability.
The UAW initiated a strike at specific factories operated by automakers General Motors, Ford, and Jeep manufacturer Stellantis on September 15th. It commenced with one assembly plant for each company and later expanded to include 38 GM and Stellantis parts warehouses. Two more assembly plants at Ford and GM were subsequently included.
The union made the decision on Friday to refrain from extending the strikes to additional plants, as GM has agreed to include their electric vehicle battery factories in the UAW’s national agreement, ensuring their unionization. The union also noted positive developments with all three car manufacturers.