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UAW Workers Reject Mack Trucks Contract, Go On Strike (Reuters)



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The article below is sourced from Reuters Wire Service. The views and opinions expressed in this story are those of the Reuters Wire Service and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NADA.

Union workers at Volvo Group-owned Mack Trucks went on strike on Monday morning after overwhelmingly rejecting a proposed five-year contract deal, the United Auto Workers said, making it the latest tentative labor agreement to be voted down.

About 73% of workers - covering 4,000 workers in Pennsylvania, Florida and Maryland - voted against the deal, the UAW said. 

Unions have used labor actions to keep employers off-balance this year in the auto, shipping and health care industries as they negotiate new contracts. Polls have shown that most Americans broadly support the unions' demands. 

In the last 12 months, freight rail workers and employees at shipping giant FedEx have rejected tentative agreements reached between union management and companies before reaching deals. 

The UAW has been on a targeted strike against facilities of the Detroit Three automakers since Sept. 15. About 25,000 of the 146,000 UAW employees at General Motors, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis are on strike. 

The proposed Mack deal had included a 19% pay hike, a $3,500 ratification bonus, improved retirement benefits, additional vacation for some employees and a reduction in the time needed to get to top pay. 

"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 late on Sunday.

After Mack workers voted down the deal, the UAW sent a strike notice to the company saying "many topics" remain at issue, including wage increases, cost-of-living allowance, job security and wage progression.

Mack President Stephen Roy said the company was "surprised and disappointed" that the UAW has chosen to strike and called the move unnecessary.

"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," Roy said.

Mack, which was bought by Volvo in 2000, is one of North America's largest makers of medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks.

Roy said Mack is part of "the only heavy-truck manufacturing group that assembles all of its trucks and engines" in the United States.

The UAW said it would contact Mack to set dates to resume bargaining. Mack said it was committed to the collective bargaining process and remained confident it would be able to reach an agreement.

"UAW members and workers across the economy are mobilizing to demand their fair share," the UAW said in a letter to Mack. "The union remains committed to exploring all options for reaching an agreement, but clearly we are not there yet."

Fain said on Friday the union would not expand the Detroit Three strikes, citing progress in talks, including that Ford had upped its proposed wage hike to 23% through early 2028. 

Combined with proposed cost-of-living adjustments, workers could receive pay increases of around 30%, people familiar with the proposal said.

Last week, health care workers at Kaiser Permanente walked out for three days as negotiations drag on with one of the largest U.S. non-profit hospital network and managed-care organizations.

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