Mack Trucks balks at union's 'unreasonable' demands

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Updated Oct 24, 2023

Mack Trucks and its United Auto Workers (UAW) members appear dug in for a protracted battle as last week UAW leadership presented the truck maker terms of a new deal that the company called "unreasonable." 

Earlier this month, Mack and UAW leaders reached a tentative agreement that union members rejected by a 73% margin a week later, setting off a strike at Mack's facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.

Mack Trucks said the union late last week presented the company "with a surprising new list of unreasonable economic demands, seemingly returning to day one of negotiations, and ignoring three months of good faith bargaining between the parties."

“Unfortunately, the new UAW economic demands are completely unrealistic,” added Mack President Stephen Roy. “We’ve already shown that we’re prepared to provide our employees with significantly improved wages, but we are not prepared to jeopardize the company.”

A lengthy stalemate has implications beyond just Mack Trucks. Mack's facility in Hagerstown, Maryland, also assembles powertrain components for sister-company Volvo Trucks. Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America, told CCJ that while the situation certainly warranted monitoring, his company was "in good shape" with regard to truck production "as long as [the strike] doesn't drag on."

The strike turned the corner on week two Monday. 

UAW members are locked in battles on multiple fronts. They are currently conducting work stoppages at GM, Ford Motor and Chrysler-parent Stellantis, strikes that been ongoing since mid-September with seemingly no end in sight. The union estimates than roughly 40,000 UAW members are currently on strike. 

This is not the first time in recent history Mack or its parent company Volvo Group has faced UAW labor unrest. 

Six UAW chapters representing more than 3,500 Mack Trucks employees at five of the company’s plants went on strike in 2019 for almost two weeks and Volvo Trucks North America endured a UAW work stoppage in 2021 that dragged on for more than a month. 

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]
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