Volvo Trucks North America and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union on Thursday reached a tentative agreement on 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, Virginia.
The deal still has to be ratified by UAW Local 2069 members.
Local members Sunday rejected a proposed five-year labor agreement but remained on the job while details of a new deal were worked out. Mitchell Smith, director of UAW Region 8, said members helped identify and achieve a "strong" contract "through their patience and participation in the process."
“UAW members showed incredible patience, resilience and solidarity and made even more solid gains toward fair pay, benefits and job security protections,” added UAW Secretary-Treasurer and Director of the UAW Heavy Truck Department, Ray Curry. “Our members are the final authority and we worked hard after the previous agreement to achieve these results. We believe the agreement addresses their concerns.”
If ratified by the UAW membership, this 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%; and guarantee no increases in health insurance premiums over the life of the contract for the plant’s best-in-class health insurance coverage, an employee benefit which represents a cost of more than $20,000 a year per employee.
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.
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.