Union workers at Volvo Group-owned Mack Trucks are now on strike after overwhelmingly rejecting a tentative five-year labor agreement reached with the company.
The United Auto Workers union announced Monday that some 4,000 Mack Trucks workers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida walked off the job at 7 a.m., bringing the total number of UAW members on strike to more than 30,000 across 22 states. Union President Shawn Fain said in a letter that 73% of workers voted down the deal that negotiators had agreed to on Oct. 1.
"I’m inspired to see UAW members at Mack Trucks holding out for a better deal, and ready to stand up and walk off the job to win it," Fain said in a statement. "The members have the final say, and it’s their solidarity and organization that will win a fair contract at Mack."
The proposed deal had included a 19% pay increase over the length of the contract, a $3,500 ratification bonus, better retirement benefits, additional paid time off, and a reduction in time it takes for workers to reach top pay scale. But the UAW said "many topics remain at issue," including cost-of-living allowances, job security, holiday schedules, health and safety, pension, health care, and overtime work.
Mack President Stephen Roy said he was "surprised and disappointed" that the UAW had rejected the proposal and chose to strike, a move the company deemed unnecessary.
"We clearly demonstrated our commitment to good faith bargaining by arriving at a tentative agreement that was endorsed by both the International UAW and the UAW Mack Truck Council," Roy said in a statement. "The UAW called our tentative agreement ‘a record contract for the Heavy Truck industry,’ and we trust that other stakeholders also appreciate that our market, business, and competitive set are very different from those of the passenger car makers."
Mack, which was founded in 1900 and purchased by Volvo Group in 2000, is one the largest manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty trucks in North America. The company said it remains committed to the collective bargaining process and is confident the two sides can come to an agreement "as soon as possible."
The latest move comes as the UAW strike against Detroit's Big Three automakers enters its fourth week. Fain said Friday that the union was temporarily holding off on expanding the strike to even more plants, citing a "major breakthrough" in negotiations. The union went on strike at select GM, Ford and Stellantis factories on Sept. 15 and has since expanded to dozens of others.
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