(The Center Square) – The United Auto Workers Union rejected a proposed contract by a 73% “no” vote and swore to strike Volvo-Group-owned Mack Trucks in three states beginning Monday morning.
The UAW voted against ratification of a new five-year collective bargaining agreement covering about 3,900 employees in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida.
“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 in a statement.
Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy said he was “surprised and disappointed” over the strike that was nearly averted by the groups reaching a “tentative agreement” last week.
“We are surprised and disappointed that the UAW has chosen to strike, which we feel is unnecessary,” Roy said in a statement. “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.”
Mack Trucks said the tentative agreement included a 10% general wage increase in year one for all employees, a compounded 20% increase to general wages over five years, and a guarantee of no increases in health insurance premiums through the term of the contract.
“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,” Roy said.
UAW members have been striking against Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors for about 25 days, seeking better wages and benefits. About 25,000 workers are striking nationwide.
The letter to Mack Trucks read in part, “The Union remains committed to exploring all options for reaching an agreement, but clearly we are not there yet. As you know, many topics remain at issue, including: wage increases, cost of living allowances, job security, wage progression, skilled trades, shift premium, holiday schedules, work schedules, health and safety, seniority, pension, 401(k), health care and prescription drug coverage, and overtime.”
“We are confident that we can secure a fair contract that reflects our members’ sacrifice and contribution to Mack Trucks.”
Mack Trucks said it is “committed” to the bargaining process.
“We are committed to the collective bargaining process, and remain confident that we will be able to arrive at an agreement that delivers competitive wages and benefits for our employees and their families, while safeguarding our future as a competitive company and stable long-term employer,” Roy said in a statement. “We look forward to returning to negotiations as soon as possible.”