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Volvo Trucks and UAW cut another deal but workers still booing

Length of deal raised to 6 years; bigger lump-sum bonuses for retirees part of pact

The United Auto Workers and Volvo Trucks North America reached a second tentative agreement Thursday after the first one was voted down on Sunday. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

United Auto Workers and Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) bargainers reached another tentative agreement Thursday, but early indications are the rank and file like this deal no more than one they sent down in flames earlier this week.

Details of the new pact posted on UAW Local 2069’s Facebook page include a longer contract — six years instead of five — and larger lump-sum bonuses for retirees. A 12% gross wage increase would mean hourly wages for some workers would top out at $30.92 at the end of the agreement in 2027.

VTNA said it would not comment on the agreement until after ratification. Based on comments posted on Local 2069’s Facebook page, approval looks iffy.

“Are you guys nuts? We are not voting for this crap. Try again!” said one post that captured the general negative tone on social media. 

Detractors get vocal

That vocal sentiment may or may not reflect the majority of the 2,900 workers who would be covered by the agreement.

“I think it’s amazing,” said one of the few positive posts. “Great job guys! Way more than I expected! A big YES vote from me!”

Local 2069 struck VTNA’s New River Valley assembly plant for 13 days in April. Workers walked out after a 30-day extension of their 2016 agreement expired April 17. Union officials called off the strike on April 17 and sent members back to work without sharing details of the agreement. In ratification voting on Sunday, workers rejected two parts of the deal by 91% and the wages portion by 83%.

From the posts on the union’s Facebook page, most of the frustration and anger appear aimed at union negotiators. Perhaps reacting to complaints about a lack of information shared when the first tentative agreement was reached, union leaders posted a one-page summary of the second tentative agreement.

“Looks like a s***** agreement again. There needs to be a new bargaining team,” another post read.

Shortening the two-tier grow-in

VTNA agreed to reduce the time period to six years from eight years for new workers to reach pay and benefit parity with more senior workers.

Eliminating the two-tier wage structure has been a union goal since shortly after the membership agreed to it in 2007 to help the Detroit 3 automakers — General Motors, Ford and the former DaimlerChrysler — save money and stay in business during the Great Recession.

The UAW did not set a second strike deadline before resuming negotiations on Wednesday. A ratification vote is pending.

Try again: UAW members reject tentative contract at Volvo Trucks

UAW ends 13-day strike at Volvo with tentative contract agreement

Volvo Trucks hit by first UAW strike since 2008

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.