Mack Truck workers in 3 states to strike

October 12, 2019 GMT

MACUNGIE, Pa. (AP) — The union representing thousands of workers at Mack Truck plants in Pennsylvania and elsewhere has announced plans to go on strike this weekend.

The United Automobile Workers Union Local 677 said on its website that the Mack Truck council voted Thursday night to begin a walkout at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. The company said the strike involves about 3,500 employees at facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.

Picketing was to begin at 8 a.m. Sunday at the Mack Truck cab and vehicle assembly plant and Lehigh Valley Logistics Center just outside Allentown in Macungie, the union announcement said.

Union secretary-treasurer and director Ray Curry said in a letter posted on the site that he was “disappointed that the company failed to provide a substantial offer prior to the Oct. 1 deadline.” He said many issues remain unresolved, including wage increases, job security, and pension and health benefits.

“We are confident that further discussions of these, and other open issues, will result in progress toward the goal of a contract that works for both the company and its employees,” he said, adding that the union was open to resume bargaining Oct. 21.

Mack Trucks President Martin Weissburg said he was “surprised and disappointed” by the decision, saying progress was being made and a “positive working relationship” between union and company officials had been in evidence throughout the negotiations.

“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,” he said in a statement. “We have no plans to close any U.S. 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 insourced work that has created more than 500 jobs in our U.S. factories. We have significant new investments in both facilities and products on the way.”

Weissburg said officials “remain confident” that an agreement can be reached that “provides a competitive wage and benefit package for our employees and families, and helps to ensure the company’s competitiveness.”

The (Allentown) Morning Call reports that its archives indicate that Mack hasn’t had a strike since 1984, when a walkout idled 9,200 workers and closed Mack’s U.S. plants for nine days before a tentative agreement was reached.