Union, Volvo reach tentative deal at Virginia truck plant

AP – A tentative labour agreement has been reached between Volvo and a union that represents nearly 3,000 workers who have gone on strike twice this year at a truck plant in southwest Virginia, according to United Auto Workers (UAW) officials.

Details of the deal were being withheld until UAW members at the assembly operations facility in Dublin could be briefed about the contract ahead of an upcoming ratification vote, the union said in a statement on Thursday. It’s the third tentative labour agreement after two previous deals were rejected by union workers.

The strike and picket lines will continue until the ratification vote, the union said.

Volvo said the 1.6 million square-foot Dublin plant is the largest manufacturer of Volvo tractor-trailer trucks in the world. It is one of the largest private sector employers in the region, with approximately 3,300 employees, some 2,900 of whom are represented by the UAW.

The previous contract, reached in 2016, was to have expired in mid-March and negotiations began in February. Unionised workers went on strike from April 17 to 30 and returned to work as negotiations resumed. UAW members rejected a proposed contract in May. The company announced another tentative agreement later that month, but it was rejected on June 6.

“UAW members and their families felt strongly about the need for financial stability gains in this contract and were willing to strike not once, but twice, to achieve those gains,” UAW President and Director of the UAW Heavy Truck Department Ray Curry said in the statement.

An employee installing a door handle on a truck cab on the Volvo truck assembly line at the Volvo plant in Dublin, Virginia. PHOTO: AP