Volvo Trucks North America announced July 1 the company and the United Auto Workers union (UAW) reached a tentative agreement on the terms of a new, six-year contract that would cover approximately 2,900 employees at the New River Valley (NRV) truck assembly operations in Dublin, Va.
If ratified by the UAW membership, Volvo says the 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 percent; and guarantee no increases in health insurance premiums over the life of the contract for the plant’s health insurance coverage, an employee benefit which represents a cost of more than $20,000 a year per employee.
“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. 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,” says UAW President and Director of the UAW Heavy Truck Department Ray Curry. “This contract reflects significant gains from the prior two tentative agreements.
Despite reaching a tentative agreement, UAW Local 2069 members will remain on the picket line until there is a ratification vote on the negotiated agreement, the UAW says.
Ratification meetings are being scheduled by the UAW, Volvo said in an announcement.
“Our members stood up for more substantial gains and those were achieved,” says Mitchell Smith, director of UAW Region 8. “The process of solidarity and member involvement in this contract has resulted in significant gains for all UAW members at Volvo Truck. I’m so proud of our members and their families for standing together to make these significant gains.”
UAW members will be briefed first about their contract gains by the bargaining team and UAW Region 8 International representatives as well as UAW Heavy Truck Department International representative beginning Friday, July 2, with a ratification vote in the days following, the UAW says.
The two sides had reached a tentative deal earlier this year, but nothing had been ratified.
The Volvo Group 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 3,300 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 innovative Volvo VNR Electric truck. The plant has added 1,100 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, Volvo says.