Mack Trucks UAW Workers Strike After Rejection of Tentative Deal

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Union workers at Mack Trucks have initiated a strike, following the rejection of a proposed five-year contract agreement that had been negotiated between union representatives and the company. The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced that approximately 4,000 unionized employees ceased work at 7 a.m., adding to the ongoing labor unrest within the automotive industry, which has affected all three major Detroit automakers.

The UAW revealed that the total number of its members now on strike across 22 states exceeds 30,000, with the addition of Mack Trucks workers to the picket lines. In a letter addressed to the parent company of Mack, Volvo Trucks, UAW President Shawn Fain disclosed that 73% of the workers had voted against the proposed contract during a tally conducted on Sunday.

Mack Trucks employees represented by UAW are located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida. Negotiators had initially reached a tentative agreement on October 1. The proposed contract included a substantial 19% pay raise over the duration of the agreement, with an initial 10% increase upon ratification. Additionally, there was a $3,500 ratification bonus, no rise in weekly health care contributions, augmented annual lump sum payments for retirees, and a $1,000 annual 401(k) lump sum aimed at offsetting healthcare costs for retired employees without health insurance.

Fain stated in his letter that workers who were on early shifts on Monday would exit the factories after completing essential tasks to prevent damage to company equipment. He emphasized that UAW members and workers nationwide are striving for fair compensation and benefits.

However, significant differences still exist between the company and the union on various fronts, including work schedules, health and safety measures, pensions, healthcare, prescription drug coverage, overtime regulations, and other issues, according to Fain’s letter.

It’s worth noting that the contract’s rejection may have been influenced by the high expectations set by UAW leadership during negotiations with Detroit’s big three automakers. While the UAW proposed a 36% raise over four years, Ford offered 23%, and the other two companies presented 20% increases.

Fain expressed his support for Mack Trucks employees, stating, “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. The members have the final say, and it’s their solidarity and organization that will win a fair contract at Mack.”

Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy expressed surprise and disappointment at the union’s decision to strike. He noted that the tentative agreement was seen as a record for the heavy truck industry and emphasized the differences in their market, business, and competition compared to passenger car manufacturers. Mack Trucks, he stated, is unique in that it assembles all of its vehicles and engines for North America in the U.S., competing against trucks produced in lower-cost countries.

Roy asserted the company’s commitment to collective bargaining and expressed confidence that both parties could reach an agreement that offers competitive wages and benefits while safeguarding the company’s future.

The strike at Mack Trucks comes in the wake of earlier strikes initiated by the UAW at select factories run by General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) in September. These strikes began with one assembly plant at each company and expanded to include 38 GM and Stellantis parts warehouses, with two additional assembly plants at Ford and GM later joining the strike. However, as of now, the union has decided not to expand the strikes further after making progress in negotiations with all three automakers.

Source: Associated Press


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