Daimler Truck Reaches A Labor Agreement With UAW Calling Off Strike in U.S.

UAW and Daimler Truck

Daimler Truck reached a new labor agreement on Friday with more than 7,300 hourly workers, represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) at six facilities across the U.S. South, preventing a strike at the eleventh hour.

UAW President Shawn Fain, speaking late into the night via YouTube from Charlotte, North Carolina, near the company’s plants, emphasized the significance of the record profits translating into a favorable contract without concessions.

He credited the determination and solidarity of the workers for achieving the tentative deal, which now awaits ratification.

Daimler Truck, renowned for producing Freightliner and Western Star trucks along with Thomas Built buses, faced the looming threat of a strike beginning at midnight ET.

In a statement, Daimler Truck expressed its anticipation for the UAW members to vote on the proposed contracts, aiming to finalize them promptly for the collective benefit of all parties involved.

UAW and Daimler Truck

The agreement at the German truck manufacturer, formerly part of the Mercedes automaker, comes just ahead of votes on UAW representation at a Mercedes assembly plant in Alabama in three weeks.

Fain’s address on Friday commenced nearly an hour behind schedule due to last-minute concessions from Daimler Truck, he explained. Throughout negotiations last autumn with the Detroit Three automakers – General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis – the looming deadline prompted concessions to avert an expanded strike.

According to Fain, Friday’s agreement entails a minimum 25% general wage increase over the four-year contract, aligning with the compensation received by workers at the Detroit Three.

Upon ratification, members will receive an immediate 10% pay hike, followed by 3% increases at six and twelve months, along with cost-of-living adjustments and profit-sharing, both introduced for the first time at Daimler Truck. Additionally, wage tiers distinguishing pay between bus and heavy truck builders will be eliminated.

UAW and Daimler Truck

Fain highlighted substantial raises for the lowest-paid Thomas Built workers, with some skilled trades workers seeing significant hourly increases. Moreover, the agreement includes enhanced job security measures and improved health and safety benefits.

In March, approximately 96% of Daimler Truck workers across four North Carolina factories and warehouses in Georgia and Tennessee voted to authorize a strike.

The union had also lodged unfair labor practice charges with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board against Daimler Truck, alleging violations of workers’ rights and federal labor laws, and failure to negotiate in good faith.

Following the agreements with the Detroit Three last fall, the UAW has shifted its focus towards organizing non-union U.S. plants of over a dozen automakers.

The recent triumph at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the forthcoming vote at a Mercedes factory in Vance, Alabama, underscore the union’s ongoing efforts in this regard.

Jessica Smith
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