UAW members will strike Mack Trucks after voting against initial deal

UAW members attend a rally in support of a labor union strike at the UAW Local 551 hall on the South Side on October 7, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois.

Jim Vondruska | Getty Images

DETROIT — About 3,900 members of the United Auto Workers at Mack Trucks will go on strike Monday after a majority of members rejected a tentative agreement reached last week between the union and the company.

The tentative agreement was approved by 73% of UAW members who voted, the union said Sunday night. Workers at facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida will strike starting at 7 a.m. Monday, UAW Advertise online.

The Mack Trucks workers will be added to the tens of thousands of striking UAW members, most notably more than 25,000 employees at General Motors, Ford Motor Co., and Stellantis. The union launched targeted strikes at select facilities against Detroit automakers starting September 15. Since then, the union has expanded strikes at both automakers.

The Mack Trucks deal was seen as a potential test of workers’ willingness to ratify a deal that did not meet the high expectations set by UAW President Sean Fine for record contracts of increased hourly wages, equal pay for equal work, inflation protection and shorter work weeks.

The tentative deal with Volvo Group-owned Mack Trucks fell far short of what the union demanded in negotiations currently underway with Detroit automakers, prompting some workers last week to tell CNBC they would vote against the deal.

A Mack Trucks employee called the deal “disgraceful” and “insulting” compared to their expectations and what UAW International leaders are currently negotiating with the Detroit automakers, also known as the Big Three.

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“We are a low man on the totem pole, and we don’t get any support from the international level,” a materials technician who has been working for more than 10 years said Friday. “They’re just pushing this [tentative agreement] So they don’t have to deal with us while the Big Three negotiate.”

While Mack Trucks is a separate company and a different part of the union from the division that covers members at the Detroit automakers, some workers had expected they would receive similar raises and benefits as their unionized brothers at the Detroit automakers.

The initial agreement for Mack Trucks varies by location and job, but for many workers it includes a pay increase of approximately 19% over the five-year deal, including 10% upon ratification; $3,500 validation bonus; Increase 401(k) company payouts; And other benefits. It does not include eliminating pay levels (it only has a one-year reduction that would take the steps to five years); reinstatement of traditional pensions; Cost of living adjustments to fight inflation; Or shorter work weeks.

The demands of UAW negotiators with Detroit automakers included a 40% wage increase, inflation protection in the form of cost-of-living allowances (COLA), work-life balance and bonuses and other benefits.

COLA, job security, wage evolution and a host of other topics are outstanding issues in talks with Mack Trucks, said Fine, who has publicly laid out the demands of Detroit auto workers.

“Members have spoken, and as the highest authority in our union, they have the final say,” Fine said Sunday in a letter released by the union. He said that the federation “remains committed to exploring all options to reach an agreement, but it is clear that we have not reached that yet.”

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Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy said the company is “surprised and disappointed that the UAW has chosen to strike, which we feel is unnecessary.”

“We are committed to the collective bargaining process, and remain confident that we will be able to reach an agreement that provides competitive wages and benefits for our employees and their families, while preserving our future as a competitive company and a stable long-term employer. We look forward to returning to negotiations,” he said in a statement Sunday night. As soon as possible”.

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