As of October 9th, the United Auto Workers union members on strike grew, as 4,000 union member employees of Mack Trucks walked out. Prior to the walkout, there was a union vote for a tentative five-year contract, which was struck down by union voters. This marks a larger expansion of the auto industry’s ongoing strikes, which originally started with the Big Detroit Three. As of this walkout, there are now more than 30,000 United Auto Workers union members on strike across 22 different states.
According to UAW President, Shawn Fain, 73% of voters voted against the tentative contract.
Before a strike even began, union negotiators were in discussions with Mack Trucks in hopes that they could prevent a strike, as Mack Trucks was trying to avoid being another company they are striking against. The contract included a 19% pay raise over the five years the contract was set for with an automatic 10% once the contract was signed. It also included a bonus and a few factors regarding health care for employees still employed and those who retired.
The strikes are still ongoing as most companies are not making any budges on changes regarding work schedules, health and safety in the factories, pensions, health care (including prescription drug coverage), overtime work and pay, and a number of other things. Essentially all proposed plans thus far from the companies only meet the bare minimum of the minute requests the union is making,
The president of Mack Trucks, Stephen Roy, released a statement after the vote saying he was “surprised and disappointed” at the news of the union’s choice to strike.
According to Roy, he claimed that behind the scenes the union seemed to be supportive and happy with the plan. He was concerned with stakeholders and what they will do now with the news of the strike. His statement included a section speaking directly to stakeholders, making a request to see the position the company is in and how they are different from others the UAW is striking against given their manufacturing of trucks rather than passenger vehicles. Just how sympathetic stakeholders will ultimately be is yet to be seen.
As the official United Auto Workers strike is nearing its one-month anniversary since first walking out on the Big Detroit Three, it is unknown at this time how much longer it will continue.