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October 17, 2019 3:00 PM, EDT

Mack Strike to Idle Production at Volvo’s Virginia Plant

Company Announces Temporary Layoff of 3,000 Employees
Volvo's Virginia plant closed by Mack Trucks strike. A worker at the Volvo New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Va. (Justin Ide/Bloomberg News)

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The ongoing Mack Trucks strike will temporarily idle the largest Volvo truck manufacturing facility in the world.

Volvo Trucks North America on Oct. 17 notified employees of its 1.6 million-square-foot plant in Dublin, Va., that the facility will stop production Oct. 21 due to a lack of engines and transmissions. The facility, called the New River Valley assembly plant, is supplied with those parts by Mack’s Hagerstown, Md., powertrain plant, where production has stopped because of the strike.

Volvo spokesman John Mies said the production stoppage will result in the temporary layoff of the plant’s roughly 3,000 employees.

RELATED: Mack Truck Workers Begin Strike at Plants in 3 States

“We announced a temporary layoff without a timeframe; We don’t know how long it will last,” Mies said. “We’re taking steps to keep our employees updated as we move forward.”

A screenshot of a notice posted on Facebook tells employees to call the Virginia plant’s message system between noon and 4 p.m. and “each day … to determine their work schedule.” The New River Valley plant produces all Volvo trucks sold in North America.

Mies told The Morning Call earlier in the week that Volvo truck production could be affected if the strike continued.

The strike, which started at 11:59 p.m. Oct. 12, affects about 3,500 Mack employees across Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida. That includes the bulk of Mack’s Lehigh Valley workforce, which is represented by United Auto Workers Local 677.

While many issues remain unresolved between Mack and the union, UAW Local 677 leadership said this week that the dispute boils down to job security. Kevin Fronheiser, the local’s shop chairman and a 20-year Mack employee, told The Morning Call on Oct. 15 that the union wants Mack to commit to keeping all Class 8 truck assembly in the Lehigh Valley.

The two sides are expected to resume negotiations Oct. 21.

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