Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Oct. 9, 2023:
UAW workers at Mack Trucks go on strike on Monday
United Auto Workers members on Sunday rejected a new five-year collective bargaining agreement with Mack Trucks and will strike at 7 a.m. Oct. 9 at Mack's facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.
Mack Trucks seemingly side-stepped a strike Oct. 1, reaching a tentative agreement with the UAW that its membership -- 3,900 employees at the three sites -- ultimately shot down by 73% Sunday.
“We are surprised and disappointed that the UAW has chosen to strike, which we feel is unnecessary,” Mack President Stephen Roy said via emailed statement. “We clearly demonstrated our commitment to good faith bargaining by arriving at a tentative agreement that was endorsed by both the International UAW and the UAW Mack Truck Council. The UAW called our tentative agreement ‘a record contract for the Heavy Truck industry,’ and we trust that other stakeholders also appreciate that our market, business, and competitive set are very different from those of the passenger car makers."
The tentative agreement, which the two sides had worked toward for three-plus months, included a 10% general wage increase in year one for all employees, a compounded 20% increase to general wages over five years, and a guarantee of no increases in health insurance premiums through the term of the contract.
UAW President Shawn Fain, in a letter written Sunday to Volvo Trucks Director of Employee and Labor Relations Holly Georgell, listed 15 items that "remain at issue," including wage increases, holiday schedules, seniority, retirement and benefits.
"I'm inspired to see UAW members at Mack holding out for a better deal, and ready to stand up and walk off the job to win it," Fain said via statement.
Mack Trucks is part of the only heavy-truck manufacturing group, Volvo Group, that assembles all of its trucks and engines for the North American market in the U.S., "and continues to compete against products built in lower-cost countries," Roy added. "We have invested more than $435 million in our plants and logistics network over the last 10 years, and are now in the process of investing more than $1 billion in new Mack products.
“We are committed to the collective bargaining process, and remain confident that we will be able to arrive at an agreement that delivers competitive wages and benefits for our employees and their families, while safeguarding our future as a competitive company and stable long-term employer," Roy said. "We look forward to returning to negotiations as soon as possible.”
Mack sister company Volvo Trucks North America endured a UAW work stoppage in 2021 that dragged on for more than a month.
A UAW work stoppage at GM, Ford Motor and Chrysler-parent Stellantis has been ongoing since mid-September.
TA buying historic Route 66 Russell's Truck & Travel Center
TravelCenters of America will complete the purchase of Russell’s Truck & Travel Center along Interstate 40 in Endee, New Mexico on Wednesday, and in somewhat of an unusual deal the stop along historic Route 66 will remain much the same as it was.
A representative of Russell's said that on Wednesday, only the free classic-car and old-time memorabilia museum and restrooms will remain open, but by Wednesday afternoon or Thursday they expect the restaurants back open under the new systems.
Local news reported that the original Russell family that opened the truck stop in 1971 will continue to lease the donation-funded museum space from TA for five years.
Paccar recalls a range of medium duty trucks
Paccar is recalling certain 2021-'24 Kenworth T280, T380, 2020-'24 Peterbilt 548, 536, 2024 Peterbilt 537, and 2020-2024 Kenworth T480 trucks as the timing of the trailer brake release may be delayed. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 121, "Air Brake Systems."
Dealers will replace the fittings and hoses in the affected valves, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed November 20, 2023. Owners may contact Kenworth's customer service at 425-828-5888 and Peterbilt's customer service at 940-591-4220. Paccar's numbers for this recall are 23KWJ and 23PBJ.