It was April 30th when workers at a Volvo truck assembly plant in Dublin, Virginia called off a 13-day strike after the company brokered a peace agreement with the UAW: talks would begin again and so would the work.
And it’s true that talks, which had begun in February of this year, did resume while the plant’s 2,900 UAW members worked under the terms of an expired, five-year contract that had been reached in 2016.
Since then, UAW workers have voted “no” on a May 16th contract and “no” again on the second version that was put to a vote June 6th. It was after the latest decision that the union said workers would resume their strike the next day.
According to a report, 91 percent of union members voted against the salary language and 90 percent voted “against hourly and common language in the proposed six-year agreement.” This amounts to an even steeper defeat than that which applied to the contract that was voted down in May.
The plant’s VP and General Manager Franky Marchand called the action “difficult to understand” and said the union leadership had previously endorsed the tentative agreement prior to the vote. He added that the plant was still committed to the collective bargaining process and remained confident an agreement would eventually be reached. Union leaders suggested the same, and said they’d be available to resume talks again this week.
In the meantime, the plant -- which employs 3,300 workers and is the largest Volvo truck manufacturing plant in the world -- will move forward without 2,900 union members. In the midst of this conflict, VTNA is upgrading the plant to the tune of $400 million, and plans to hire 600 more workers before year’s end.