Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and its affiliated Local #2069 are now on strike against Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) at its New River Valley truck assembly plant in Dublin, VA.
According to a local news website, New River Valley News, the Volvo workers walked off the job last night after union leaders and Volvo failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.
A report posted on local news website EverythingNRV.com stated that, according to union vp Tim Barnes, “contract negotiations between Volvo and the local union, which represents 2,467 of the plant's roughly 2,900 employees began in early January. The union's members voted Monday to authorize a strike in the event an agreement could not be reached. The vote passed with 95% of the union members authorizing a strike if negotiations failed.”
EverythingNRV.com also quoted from a letter to UAW members from Local #2069 president Lester Hancock that indicated health and safety issues were a key factor in the talks breaking down. “Despite our willingness to work toward compromises on the many issues that separate us, management continues making unreasonable proposals that would erode the wages and benefits that we’ve fought so many years to achieve and protect. Even worse, Volvo is seeking to dismantle many of the most basic health and safety protections found in our current agreement,” said Hancock in the letter.
According to VTNA, negotiations for the new contract began on January 8, 2008 and, by its terms, the existing contract expired at 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2008.
“We regret that the UAW has decided to take this action,” Per Carlsson, president & CEO of VTNA said in a news release. “Volvo Trucks is committed to the collective bargaining process, and we will continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement can be achieved.”
FleetOwner contacted UAW headquarters in Detroit and Local #2069 as well as Volvo Trucks North America but has not yet received a response from any party.