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4,000 Mack Truck workers in U.S. walk off the job, joining UAW fight


Union workers at Mack Trucks went on strike Monday after voting down a tentative five-year contract agreement that negotiators had reached with the company.

The United Auto Workers said 4,000 unionized workers walked out at 7 a.m., adding to labour turmoil in the industry that has ensnared all three big Detroit automakers.

With those workers joining picket lines, the total number of UAW members that are on strike now exceeds 30,000 across 22 states, the union said Monday.

Union President Shawn Fain said in a letter to Mack parent company Volvo Trucks that 73% of workers voted against the deal in results counted on Sunday.

The UAW represents Mack workers in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. Union leaders had reached a tentative agreement on the deal on Oct. 1.

UAW Locals 171, 677, 1247, 2301, and 2420 in UAW Region 8 and Region 9 represent workers at Mack Trucks in Macungie and Middletown, Pennsylvania; Hagerstown and Baltimore, Maryland; and Jacksonville, Florida.

The deal negotiators had reached with Mack just over a week ago included a 19 per cent pay raise over the life of the contract with 10 per cent upon ratification. There also was a $3,500 ratification bonus, no increase in weekly health care contributions, increased annual lump sum payments for retirees and a $1,000 annual 401(k) lump sum to offset health care costs for employees who don’t get health insurance after retirement.

Strike will start Monday

Fain said in his letter to Volvo Trucks’ head of labour relations that employees working early Monday would exit the factories after performing tasks needed to prevent damage to company equipment.

Fain wrote that UAW members and workers across the country are seeking their fair share in wages and benefits.

The company and union are still apart on work schedules, health and safety, pensions, health care, prescription drug coverage, overtime and other issues, he wrote.

The contract may have been sunk by high expectations Fain has set in bargaining with Detroit’s three automakers. In those talks, the UAW has asked for 36 per cent raises over four years, while Ford has offered 23 per cent and the other two firms are at 20 per cent.

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“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,” Fain said in a prepared statement. “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 said in a statement Sunday night that the company is “surprised and disappointed” that the union chose to strike. The union, he wrote,…



Read More: 4,000 Mack Truck workers in U.S. walk off the job, joining UAW fight

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