DETROIT – About 3,900 United Auto Workers members with Mack Trucks will go on strike Monday after a majority of members rejected a tentative agreement reached last week by the union and company.
The tentative agreement was voted down 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 announced online.
The Mack Trucks workers will add to tens of thousands of other striking UAW members, most notably more than 25,000 employees with General MotorsFord MotorStellantisbeginning Sept. 15. The union’s since expanded the strikes at each of the automakers.
The Mack Trucks deal was viewed as a potential test of the willingness of workers to ratify a deal that didn’t meet raised expectations set by UAW President Shawn Fain for record contracts for hourly pay increases, equal pay for equal work, inflation protection and shorter work weeks.
One Mack Trucks worker descried the deal as “disgraceful” and an “insult” compared to their expectations and what’s currently being negotiated by UAW international leaders with the Detroit automakers, also known as the Big Three.
“We are low man on totem pole, and we are getting no backing from international,” said a more than 10-year material technician on Friday. “They are just pushing this [tentative agreement] through so they don’t have to deal with us while the Big Three are negotiating.”
While Mack Trucks is a separate company and a different part of the union than the section that covers members with the Detroit automakers, some workers were expecting that they would receive similar increases and benefits as their union brethren at the Detroit automakers.
The Mack Trucks tentative agreement varies by location and job but for many workers, it includes a roughly 19% wage increase over the five-year deal, including 10% upon ratification; $3,500 ratification bonuses; increased 401(k) company payments; and other benefits. It does not include the elimination of wage tiers (it only has a one-year reduction that would bring the steps to five years); re-instatement of traditional pensions; cost-of-living adjustments to battle inflation; or shorter work weeks.
Demands by UAW negotiators with the Detroit automakers have included 40% pay increase, inflation protection in the form of cost-of-living allowances (COLA), work/life balance and other bonuses and benefits.
Fain, who has publicly laid out the demands for Detroit autoworkers, said COLA, job security, wage progression and a host of other topics as outstanding issues in the talks with Mack Trucks.
“The members have spoken, and as the highest authority in our union, they have the final word,” Fain said Sunday in a message released by the union. He said the union “remains committed to exploring all options for reaching an agreement, but clearly we are not there yet.”
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 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. We look forward to returning to negotiations as soon as possible,” he said Sunday night in a release.