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Workers at Mack Trucks reject tentative contract deal and will go on strike today

The bulldog hood ornament is seen on a used Mack truck that is available at a lot in Evans City, Pa., Jan. 9, 2020.  The United Auto Workers union has reached a tentative contract agreement with Mack Trucks that covers about 4,000 workers in three states. Mack Trucks confirmed a tentative agreement on a five-year contract early Monday, Oct. 12, 2023 after the UAW announced the deal just before midnight Sunday.
Keith Srakocic
/
AP
The bulldog hood ornament is seen on a used Mack truck at a lot in Evans City, Pa., Jan. 9, 2020.

Union workers at Mack Trucks have voted down a tentative five-year contract agreement reached with the company and plan to strike at 7 a.m. Monday, the United Auto Workers union says.

Union president Shawn Fain said in a letter to Mack parent company Volvo Trucks that 73% of workers voted against the deal in results counted on Sunday.

The UAW represents about 4,000 Mack workers in three states. Union leaders had reached a tentative agreement on the deal on Oct. 1.

The deal included a 19% pay raise over the life of the contract with 10% upon ratification. There also was a $3,500 ratification bonus, no increase in weekly health care contributions, increased annual lump sum payments for retirees and a $1,000 annual 401(k) lump sum to offset health care costs for employees who don’t get health insurance after retirement.

Fain said in his letter to Volvo Trucks' head of labor relations that employees working early Monday will exit the factories after performing tasks needed to prevent damage to company equipment.

The workers are in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.

Fain wrote that UAW members and workers across the country are seeking their fair share in wages and benefits. “The union remains committed to exploring all options for reaching an agreement, but we clearly are not there yet.”

The company and union are still apart on work schedules, health and safety, pensions, health care, prescription drug coverage, overtime and other issues, he wrote.

The contract may have been sunk by high expectations Fain has set in bargaining with Detroit’s three automakers. In those talks, the UAW has asked for 36% raises over four years, while Ford has offered 23% and the other two firms are at 20%.

Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy said in a statement Sunday night that the company is “surprised and disappointed” that the union chose to strike. The union, he wrote, called the tentative agreement a record for the heavy truck industry. “We trust that other stakeholders also appreciate that our market, business and competitive set are very different from those of the passenger car makers,” the statement said.

Mack, he wrote, is part of the only heavy truck manufacturing group that assembles all of its vehicles and engines for North America in the U.S., competing against trucks built in lower-cost countries.

The company is committed to collective bargaining and is confident both sides will reach a deal that delivers competitive wages and benefits while safeguarding the company’s future, the statement said.

The UAW went on strike at selected factories run by automakers General Motors, Ford and Jeep maker Stellantis on Sept. 15. It started with one assembly plant for each company, then spread to 38 GM and Stellantis parts warehouses. Two additional assembly plants at Ford and GM were added later.

On Friday, the union decided not to expand the strikes to any more plants for the time being after GM agreed to bring its electric vehicle battery factories into the UAW’s national contract, assuring that they’ll be unionized. The union also reported progress with all three automakers.

Tom Krisher | Associated Press