Strike against Mack Trucks: UAW walk out after voting down agreement

Nearly 4,000 UAW members at Mack Trucks facilities in three states walked out on Monday morning after voting down a tentative agreement Sunday night.

“I’m inspired to see UAW members at Mack holding out for a better deal, and ready to stand up and walk off the job to win it,” UAW President Shawn Fain said via @UAW on X.

This latest contract negation with Mack Trucks, owned by Volvo Group, covers a five-year agreement, one year longer than the previous agreement. A letter issued by the UAW to Volvo’s director of employee relations Holly Georgell said the union voted the tentative agreement down with a 73% ‘no’ vote.

“The members have spoken and as the highest authority in our union, they have the final word,” said the letter, signed by Fain.

The tentative agreement included a 10% general wage increase, a 19% increase to general wages over five years, and a guarantee that healthcare premiums will not increase during the duration of the contract, according to UAW and Mack Trucks spokespersons.

“We are surprised and disappointed that the UAW has chosen to strike, which we feel is unnecessary,” said Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy in a statement released to USA TODAY. “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.”

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Where is the strike happening?

The 3,900 UAW members walked out from Mack Trucks facilities in the following locations:

  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • Macungie, Pennsylvania
  • Middletown, Pennsylvania
  • Hagerstown, Maryland
  • Baltimore, Maryland

Employees who build the heavy duty trucks exited their facilities in an “orderly manner after performing tasks necessary to prevent damage to the company’s equipment or product” at 7 a.m. Monday, the according to UAW.

Why is UAW striking against Mack Trucks?

Fain said in the letter that the union has met with Mack Truck officials over three months to address issues of concern, and will be in contact with available dates and locations to reconvene bargaining. Issues of concern, the letter said, are:

  • Wage issues
  • Cost of living allowances
  • Job security
  • Holiday schedules
  • Work schedules
  • Pension
  • 401(K)
  • Prescription drug coverage
  • Overtime
  • Experts:Shawn Fain’s biting style is creating a moment, just like another UAW labor icon

    UAW ‘Stand Up Strike’ against the Detroit Three

    This strike comes at the same time the UAW has run a targeted national strike against Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Stellantis, known as the Detroit Three since mid-September.

    Contract talks with those automakers failed at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2023, and Fain released the list of demands the following day, as previously reported by USA TODAY. Those include:

    Eliminating wage tiers.

    ◾ A 40% wage increase over the life of the contract. The 40% signifies the increase in CEO salaries.

    ◾ Restoring the cost-of-living allowance adjustments to counteract inflation.

    ◾ Defined benefit pension for all workers.

    ◾ The right to strike over plant closures.

    ◾ A reduced work week and more paid time off.

    ◾ Limiting the use of temporary workers.

    ◾ Increased benefits to current retirees.

    Recent progress in the negotiations paused a strike expansion Friday, as reported by the Associated Press.

    Monday’s strike against Mack Trucks brings the total to 30,000 workers on strike across 22 states, UAW said.

History of strikes and negotiations between Mack Trucks and UAW

The UAW and Mack Trucks negotiators reached a tentative agreement for a five-year contract just before the contract scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 1, according to UAW.

“The terms of this tentative agreement would deliver significantly increased wages and continue first-class benefits for Mack employees and their families,” Mack President Stephen Roy said, according to the company announcement dated Oct. 2. “At the same time, it would allow the company to successfully compete in the market, and continue making the necessary investments in our people, plants and products.”

In 2019, the UAW contract with Mack Truck followed a national strike of approximately 3,500 workers that lasted nearly two weeks and called in the midst of the national strike of 46,000 workers against General Motors.

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