Volvo Trucks to restart production at NRV plant – Equipment

Workers assemble Volvo trucks at the New River Valley plant in this 2015 HDT file photo.

Photo: Deborah Lockridge

Volvo Trucks North America has announced that it will resume production at its New River Valley truck assembly plant under a six-year contract that was rejected by workers on July 9.

It was the third time unionized workers rejected a tentative labor agreement between United Auto Workers management and Volvo Trucks North America. The NRV plant in Dublin, Virginia employs more than 3,300 people, of which approximately 2,900 are UAW members.

In a July 11 press release, Volvo announced: “After reaching an impasse today in discussions with United Auto Workers negotiators regarding a new contract for the New River Valley plant, Volvo Trucks North America will effective July 12, 2021, the terms and conditions of the tentative agreement approved by UAW officers on July 1, 2021. All employees who return to work on or after July 12 will immediately receive salary increases and the benefits described in the agreement of July 1, with the exception of the ratification bonuses which would be paid upon ratification of the contract.

The previous five-year contract expired in mid-March and production ceased on April 17 after a 30-day no-deal extension expired. It was the first such strike for Volvo since 2008. An agreement in principle was reached on April 30 and production resumed on May 3, but the agreement was vigorously rejected by the base on May 16. On June 6, union members rejected a new six-year employment contract. The workers went on strike again on June 7.

This version of the agreement was not rejected as strongly as the previous two. On the timetable and common language, 40% voted in favor of the agreement. On the language of wages, it was 33%.

“We need to protect our future and start building trucks for the many customers and dealers whose businesses and livelihoods depend on our products,” said Franky Marchand, vice president and general manager of NRV. “Our latest offering generated significant salary gains and first-class benefits for our employees, and 40% of UAW voters supported it. We look forward to welcoming the employees back to the plant and getting back to building the best heavy trucks in the industry.

After the rejection of the contract, Marchand said in a statement, “In view of the significant salary gains and first-class benefits offered by this agreement, and the strong support it has garnered from UAW leaders in all levels, this result is unexpected and very disappointing. … The ongoing strike – which we continue to believe unnecessary – is harming our customers and has already set back our plan to expand and modernize the facility. No one is taking advantage of the current situation, and we will be looking at all options related to the negotiation process. “

Marchand was referring to a $ 400 million investment for advanced technology upgrades, site expansion and preparation for future products, including the new Volvo VNR Electric truck, which the company is currently working on.

On its Facebook page, UAW Local 2069 said on July 11: “There is no more bargaining” and the union will have another ratification vote on Wednesday, July 11. Another letter on the Facebook page urged members not to cross the picket line before this. vote took place.

“We are still on strike until further notice,” said the letter from Matt Blondino, President of Local 2069. “We will have a ratification vote on Wednesday, July 14…. If it is ratified, we could possibly return to work between Thursday July 15, 2021 and Monday July 19, 2021. “

In comments on this post, Missy Edwards, chair of the local election committee, wrote: “If that fails, we will always return to work under [tentative agreement 3]. Unfair labor charges will be laid against the company, and we’ll see what happens to that. Several scenarios are possible and could take months or years to resolve.

Leon E. Hill

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