UAW narrowly OK’s Volvo Trucks contract
By Mike Brezonick16 July 2021
After three rejections of tentatively approved contacts, the United Autoworkers Local 2069 voted to accept a new six-year deal for approximately 2900 union workers at Volvo’s New River Valley truck plant in Dublin, Va.
“This agreement allows us to continue providing our employees with a great quality of life, with guaranteed wage growth and excellent benefits,” said NRV Vice President and General Manager Franky Marchand. “It will also help secure the plant’s long-term growth and sustainability. Our focus now will be on getting trucks to customers as quickly as we can and strengthening our relationship with our employees.”
Hourly union workers approved the deal by a narrow 1147-1130 vote, according to news reports that were confirmed by the UAW. Unionized salaried employees voted 45-40 against ratification, the union said on its Facebook page.
UAW president Ray Curry said in a statement that the union has an established process to address concerns raised by the salaried workforce. “The democratic process played out at Volvo Trucks,” Curry said. “UAW Members stood together through their strike and now the overall agreement and hourly agreement have been ratified despite the company’s actions earlier in the week.”
Curry was referring to Volvo Trucks’ announcement that it would implement the terms of the third proposal that had been approved by union negotiators and subsequently rejected by the rank and file.
The union said in its statement that the six-year agreement eliminates a second wage tier of wages and provides health care premium and shift scheduling protections and includes a “major signing bonus and aggressive annual wage improvements” through the length of the contract.
The NRV plant employs more than 3300 people, about 2900 of whom are UAW members. The plant is in the midst of a $400 million investment for technology upgrades, site expansion and preparation for future products, including the Volvo VNR Electric truck. Volvo Trucks said the plant has added 1100 jobs since the last union agreement was implemented in 2016 and is on track to have a net increase of approximately 600 positions in 2021.