Volvo truck plant union members say 'no' to new labor deal

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Updated May 17, 2021
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Employees represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) Sunday rejected a new five-year labor agreement that would have covered approximately 2,900 members of UAW Local #2069 at Volvo Trucks North America's New River Valley (NRV) truck assembly operations in Dublin, Virginia.

Volvo said that UAW-represented employees will still report to work Monday, May 17.

“We look forward to working with the UAW to resolve whatever the outstanding issues are," said NRV Vice President and General Manager Franky Marchand, "and we remain confident that we will be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement."

UAW International Director of Public Relations Brian Rothenberg said via statement to CCJ Sunday night that local members voted against common language in the deal by a 91% margin; hourly language was defeated by 91% margin; and salary language was defeated by 83%. 

"Members of UAW Local 2069 will continue working and go back to the bargaining table shortly," he added. 

Contract negotiations started Feb. 8 and UAW Local 2069 workers went on strike Saturday, April 17, following the lapse of a 30-day extension to a five-year contract that expired March 15. The union strike ended April 30 after a two-week work stoppage when the parties reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year deal. 

Details of the five-year contract were not made public, but UAW Secretary-Treasurer and Director of the UAW Heavy Truck Department Ray Curry told CCJ last month that the proposed agreement secured "significant gains toward fair pay, benefits and job security protections."

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 last union agreement was implemented in 2016, and is on track to have a net increase of approximately 600 positions in 2021.

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].