UAW, Volvo Trucks again OK tentative deal
By Mike Brezonick02 July 2021
Volvo Trucks North America and UAW Local 2069 have again announced a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract that would cover the majority of workers at Volvo’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Va. A ratification vote is reportedly set for July 9.
The company and union have reached tentative agreements several times since the negotiation process that began earlier this year. The previous deals were overwhelmingly rejected by the rank and file and workers have struck the plant twice.
Volvo issued a statement regarding the agreement, noting that “If ratified by the UAW membership, this agreement would: eliminate the two-tier wage structure; immediately take any employee currently in wage progression and hired on or before June 30, 2015 to top pay; institute a six-year progression to top pay for all employees, giving credit for years of active service; increase the new hire starting pay by more than 14%; and guarantee no increases in health insurance premiums over the life of the contract for the plant’s best-in-class health insurance coverage, an employee benefit which represents a cost of more than $20,000 a year per employee.”
The company said it is the only heavy-duty truck manufacturing group that assembles all of its trucks and engines for the North American market in the United States. The NRV plant employs more than 3300 people, about 2,900 of whom are UAW members.
The plant is in the midst of a $400 million investment for advanced technology upgrades, site expansion and preparation for future products, including the Volvo VNR Electric truck. Volvo said the plant has added 1100 jobs since the current union agreement was implemented in 2016 and is on track to have a net increase of approximately 600 positions in 2021.
UAW Local 2069 said striking members will remain on the picket line until the ratification vote.
“UAW members and their families felt strongly about the need for financial stability gains in this contract and were willing to strike not once, but twice, to achieve those gains,” said UAW President and Director of the UAW Heavy Truck Dept., Ray Curry. “The elected bargaining team of the UAW Volvo Truck Council worked very hard to achieve these significant gains and they could not have achieved them without the solidarity of Local 2069 members. This contract reflects significant gains from the prior two tentative agreements.”