With all this talk of the United Auto Workers union who are trying to get a better deal for their part in the success of the US auto industry, it might be easy to overlook another group of unified workers trying to get their own fair shake. With a labor contract that expired on October 1st, the Mack Trucks union says that workers may soon go on strike if a new contract is not negotiated.
UAW Local 627 labor action involves approximately 3,500 employees at facilities in Florida, Maryland, and, of course, Pennsylvania. This includes the Mack Lehigh Valley Operations located just off Route 100 in Lower Macungie Township: where every single Mack truck built for operation in the North American market first hits the vehicle assembly line.
The union’s contract had an October 1 expiration date and they had agreed to an extension: but that ended over the weekend. UAW Heavy Tuck Department secretary-treasurer and director Ray Curry warns that employees who are working at the time of the new deadline “will exit the facilities in an orderly manner after performing any tasks necessary to prevent damage [to any of the equipment or products thereof].”
That in mind, Mack Trucks President Martin Weissburg expressed, over the weekend, his surprise and disappointment—surely shared with everyone employed by the company—at the decision to strike. He hints that the union could have allowed workers to remain at their post while the continue negotiating.
Accordingly, he attests, “Mack Trucks is part of the only heavy-truck manufacturing group that assembles all of its trucks and engines for the North American market here in the United States, and continues to compete against products built in lower-cost countries.”
Finally, Weissburg goes on to say, “We have no plans to close any US manufacturing; on the contrary, we’ve invested more than $400 million in our plants and logistics network over the last ten years, and since 2015 have in-sourced work that has created more than 500 jobs in our US factories. We have significant new investments in both facilities and products on the way.”
Should the workers go through with the strike, it would be the first such instance at Mack Trucks in 35 years.