Almost 4,000 members of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union at Mack Trucks have joined forces with 25,000 workers from Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis on picket lines as they fight for better pay and benefits. The Mack Trucks workers overwhelmingly approved a strike vote, resulting in walkouts at multiple facilities in three states.
The decision to strike reportedly came as a surprise to Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy. A tentative agreement between the truck manufacturer and the UAW had been reached on October 1, but it failed to pass a final vote from UAW members. The proposed contract, which spanned five years, was rejected by a significant majority of 73 percent. Consequently, the strike began at 7:00 AM on Monday morning at Mack locations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
A major sticking point in the proposed contract was the offered 19 percent pay raise, which the workers deemed insufficient to keep up with inflation. The proposal also included improved retirement benefits, a shorter time frame to reach top pay, additional vacation time, and a $3,500 ratification bonus.
UAW President Shawn Fain expressed his support for the striking Mack Trucks workers in a post on the official UAW account, stating that he was inspired by their determination to fight for a better deal and their willingness to walk off the job to achieve it.
This latest UAW strike against Mack Trucks adds to the ongoing strikes by Detroit automakers that have persisted for nearly a month. Around 15,000 UAW members working for Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis initiated strikes on September 15, raising concerns about pay, retirement benefits, tiered pay structures, and vacation time. The strikes were expanded to Ford and GM on September 29, leading to 25,000 workers taking part in picket lines.
However, despite some progress in negotiations, a resolution has not yet been achieved in Detroit. In Ford’s latest offer, a 23 percent pay increase was proposed, while GM and Stellantis offered 20 percent increases. The companies also proposed increases in 401K contributions and additional time off. Tiered pay systems remain a point of contention, with Ford offering equal pay after a wage grow-in period, while GM and Stellantis continue to have various tiers. The issue of temporary workers, which is also a concern for UAW members, remains unresolved across all three companies. The UAW is demanding a 36 percent pay increase with a 90-day grow-in period, the conversion of all temporary workers to full-time positions, and a return to defined-benefit pensions, among other demands.
As for Mack Trucks, negotiations are set to resume at the bargaining table. The duration of the strike against the company remains uncertain at this time.