In yet another dark turn for Trucktober, Mack Truck employees represented by the United Auto Workers have been unable to reach an agreement with parent company Volvo Group. Effective at 11:59 on Saturday, workers will walk out of facilities in Pennslyvania, Maryland and Florida.
This is the first time in over 30 years that Mack has faced a strike, according to The Morning Call:
It will be the first strike for Mack since 1984, when a nine-day strike idled 9,200 workers and kept the manufacturer’s U.S. plants closed before a tentative agreement was reached.
“Over the last three months, we have met with company representatives in an effort to address issues raised by our members,” Curry wrote to D. William Waters, director of employee and labor relations at Volvo Trucks North America, Mack’s sister company under Sweden-based Volvo Group’s umbrella. “We are disappointed that the company failed to provide any substantial offer prior to the Oct. 1 expiration date or during the subsequent meetings held during the period in which we extended the contract.”
The previous contract between the workers and Mack expired on October 1, but union workers have continued to operate under the previous agreement until today. But the parties continue to disagree over wage increases, healthcare coverage, work schedules and other key issues, so the UAW is ratcheting up the pressure on Mack to concede.
In a statment mentioning that the company was “committed to the collective bargaining process” and proud to be a part of the only heavy-truck group to assemble all of its engines and trucks for the U.S. market in the U.S, Mack Trucks President Martin Weissburg offered said:
“We are surprised and disappointed that the UAW decided to strike, rather than to allow our employees to keep building trucks and engines while the parties continued to negotiate. The positive working relationship between local UAW leadership and management at our facilities was clearly in evidence throughout the negotiations, and progress was being made.
The statement also noted that Mack Trucks has continued to invest in U.S. manufacturing despite competition from trucks assembled in lower-cost markets, a contrast to the outsourcing of production at the center of the UAW’s dispute with General Motors.
Like GM, though, Mack was already dealing with an oversupply of vehicles before the strike. The Morning Call reports that the company was already planning to idle its Lower Macungie, Pa. plant for two weeks during the fourth quarter.