While the Volvo Mack Truck strike is over, how it happened may not bode well for the future

November 16 – The union workers for Volvo Mack Truck voted on their new contract yesterday. 

More than 90 percent of the workers voted in favor of the new contract. 

Mack Volvo is not releasing details of the deal. There will be a $3,500 contract ratification bonus and enhancements to pay and benefits, but the actual numbers are not out. 

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “This affects plants throughout the country, here locally Hagerstown. There is also a plant in Pennsylvania. So those guys will be going back to work, so that is good news.”

Anthony Panasiewicz of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “I’m not privy to the contract negotiations for unions, but it seemed really heavy handed with that letter that they were sending that they were essentially threatening the union members, hey, you need to vote for this or we’re going to hire scabs. Does that seem out of the ordinary for you? Could that hurt for further communication, either with the union or with the company?”

Barkdoll said, “That letter to me was extraordinary. Now remember, that letter came from the union. So that wasn’t from management. That came from the union to its own members. The union apparently had some real concerns that if this thing didn’t get done, trouble was brewing in the form of scab workers coming in, and no more negotiation. So that undoubtedly influenced a lot of people in that vote. It seemed like an extraordinary measure.”

The car company Union of Auto Workers’ contract, it was a very split decision. 

Barkdoll noted, “One of the big GM plants yesterday, they did ratify the UAW car manufacturer contract, but many of the other car plants around the country from Ford, Stilantis and GM, they’re rejecting it. So that situation with car manufacturers and UAW is far from resolved, and it’s not clear what those companies are going to do to correct or try to continue negotiating that situation.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “I just have to say it seems to me that they’re experiencing the same thing with their workers that universities are experiencing with their students. They’re creating monsters who think they have all the power in the world to get whatever they want and they can’t control them. They’re making deals like hey, we made a deal, but we have to get our members to vote and then they don’t vote for it because they’re teaching them hey, keep being tough and you’ll get anything you want. Mob rule.” 

Panasiewicz said, “We keep hearing that strong labor market, strong labor market, but does it end? Does it have an end in sight? Just based on these negotiations, I don’t think there’s an end in sight.”

Barkdoll agreed, “This is the year of the union. I mean, they really exerted their muscle this year, whether it was the Hollywood situation, UAW, the Las Vegas service workers. By the way, a massive walkout is scheduled today in hundreds of Starbucks stores around the country. Those workers and many of them have now unionized. They’re going to walk off the job today, a one-day strike on what is Starbucks Red Cup Day. This is one of Starbucks’ biggest revenue days of the year. Those union workers are going to leverage that to walk off the job today at many of their stores.”