Mack Trucks, UAW Return to Negotiating Table

Truck Maker Blasts Union for ‘Unrealistic Demands’
UAW workers on strike at a Mack plant
Members of UAW Local 171 picket outside a Mack Trucks facility in Hagerstown, Md. (Steve Ruark/Associated Press)

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Mack Trucks and the United Auto Workers union are set to return to the negotiating table Oct. 23, seeking to end a heightened impasse over a new five-year labor agreement.

Talks are scheduled to continue through Oct. 26.

UAW-affiliated employees at five Mack Trucks facilities — including the Lehigh Valley Operations in Macungie, Pa., and Hagerstown Powertrain Operations in Maryland — walked out Oct. 9 after 73% voted down a potential deal.

The two sides met Oct. 19 for the first time since the strike began, with the Volvo Group subsidiary and union much further apart in their positions than when a tentative agreement was reached Oct. 2.

When the two sides returned to the table, UAW’s negotiating team sought higher general wages increases, a reinstatement of cost-of-living increases, additional paid time off and full coverage for health and safety training among other things.

After the talks finished for the week Oct. 19, Mack Trucks and the UAW fired broadsides at one another.

Mack Trucks said the union presented the company with “a surprising new list of unreasonable economic demands, seemingly returning to day one of negotiations, and ignoring three months of good faith bargaining between the parties.”

Stephen Roy


“Unfortunately, the new UAW economic demands are completely unrealistic,” said Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy. “We’ve already shown that we’re prepared to provide our employees with significantly improved wages, but we are not prepared to jeopardize the company.”

UAW President Shawn Fain said in a Facebook livestream late Oct. 20: “The company basically said they wanted to rearrange the deck chairs and try to get a re-vote. But the members have already spoken. The [bargaining council] said no and we expect Mack to come back with something real and quick.”

Union members are looking for overtime for working more than 40 hours, more sick days and a cost-of-living adjustment to combat inflation, they said in a video accompanying the livestream.

“The companies are making billions, and they’re just not sharing it with the workforce,” said UAW 677 President Scott Wolf in the video.

UAW Locals 171, 677, 1247, 2301, and 2420 in UAW Region 8 and Region 9 represent workers in Macungie and Middletown, Pa., Hagerstown and Baltimore, Md., and Jacksonville, Fla.

The tentative agreement offered a 10% general wage increase in year one for all employees, and a compounded 20% general wage increase over five years, according to the company. The deal also would eliminate one wage progression step, giving all employees a faster path to full pay, it said, adding: “Premiums for our first-class health insurance would not increase through the term of the contract.”

The union told members Mack Trucks wants the tentative agreement re-approved by Oct. 31. If not, according to the union, Mack Trucks is threatening to withdraw the terms of the tentative agreement.

However, Mack said it “looks forward to returning to the bargaining table” on Oct. 23 and “hopes the UAW leadership makes more realistic proposals.”

Volvo Group CEO Martin Lundstedt


Mack Trucks and Volvo Group are stressing in communications their commitment to American employees.

During Volvo Group’s third-quarter 2023 earnings call on Oct. 18, CEO Martin Lundstedt noted: “We’ve had good discussions with the union during the course of this year.”

“The most [important thing] is to find a solution that is acceptable for the parties. And for us, it is very important that this solution is acceptable, knowing the fact that we are the only truck OEM in North America that is producing 100% of our trucks in the United States, where our competition is producing, either a big share, or a very big share in Mexico,” said Lundstedt.

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