DTNA and UAW sign tentative labor agreement at Freightliner plant

A Freightliner cab on the assembly line at DTNA’s Cleveland (North Carolina) truck manufacturing plant. (Daimler Trucks North America via YouTube)

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On April 26, Daimler Trucks North America signed a tentative four-year labor agreement with the United Auto Workers covering about 7,400 employees, hours after a previous agreement at Freightliner’s U.S. manufacturing plants Expiring.

The 11th hour collective bargaining agreement covers unionized employees at DTNA’s Cleveland Truck Manufacturing Plant, Mount Holly Truck Manufacturing Plant and Gastonia Parts Plant (all in North Carolina); Atlanta Parts Distribution Center; Memphis Parts Distribution Center; and Thomas Build Bus Factory in High Point, North Carolina.

Cleveland Truck is Freightliner’s largest manufacturing plant in the United States, and Mount Holly produces Freightliner’s mid-size models. The Gastonia plant handles stamping, metal fabrication and subassembly of cab and chassis components, according to DTNA. Freightliner sells more Class 8 trucks in the United States than any other brand.

According to UAW Local 5285, which represents Mount Holly employees, negotiations began on February 19 for site-specific language; negotiations on common language for the agreement began on April 2; and health and safety negotiations began on April 8. day starts.

As the deadline approaches, DTNA remains positive, with a spokeswoman telling Transport Topics in an April 24 email: “We are currently in good faith CBA negotiations with our UAW partners to reach an agreement. a new contract that would benefit all parties and allow [DTNA] Continue to deliver products that enable our customers to move the world forward.

UAW members in six locations will now vote on the new contract. A timetable has not yet been announced.

After successful negotiations with truck and bus manufacturers in the fall and spring, the UAW bargaining team reached an early settlement with DTNA, a deal the union expressed pride on April 27.

“Last night, our UAW Daimler negotiating team reached a tentative agreement with the company that includes historic benefits for Daimler workers, including a more than 25% pay increase, the end of pay scales, and the introduction of profit sharing and [a Cost-of-Living Agreement]and there are no concessions,” the union said in a statement.

UAW President Shawn Fain said in a speech on April 26 that this is the first cola launched by DTNA.

“For months, we have said record profits should mean record contracts. And, as a UAW family, our resolve and unity have delivered,” Fein said in a speech in Charlotte, North Carolina. . “We said: Whether you build heavy trucks or buses for Daimler, you should be paid the same. We won equal pay and ended Daimler’s pay scale.

He added: “All Daimler employees will get a salary increase of at least 25% over the next four years. When the deal is approved, you will get a 10% raise. Six months later, it’s a 3% increase.” Six months later, it was up another 3%. In the first year of trading alone, it was up 16%.

“All in all, the value of this deal is much higher than any Daimler contract in the past. So when we say record profits mean record contracts, we mean it.

DTNA parent company Daimler Trucks reported first-quarter 2024 earnings on May 7. In the fourth quarter of 2018, it increased by 120% year-on-year to US$1.322 billion.

While a tentative deal was reached before the old contract expired, both the company and the union were aware of UAW members’ track record in the trucking industry in recent months, which Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks and Allison Transmission Holdings rejected Initial Agreement.

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Fein made this point in his April 26 speech.

“As we celebrate today, our members are the highest authority in our union and they will have the final say,” he said. “Over the coming days and weeks we will be holding local rollout meetings so our members can hear everything we have won in this deal and vote on whether the agreement appropriately meets their demands. ”

On October 8, UAW members at Mack Trucking rejected the tentative agreement reached with the union on October 1. However, six weeks into the shutdown, the 3,900 employees ratified the same five-year agreement as the tentative agreement on November 15. Mack Trucks lost just over 1,800 Class 8 vehicles in its showdown with the UAW, according to S&P Global Mobility estimates.

Meanwhile, Allison’s 1,500 employees approved a four-year agreement on Jan. 16 after the automatic transmission specialist and UAW Local 933 reached a tentative agreement on Jan. 5. For the second time, the two sides reached a tentative agreement; about 96% of workers rejected the agreement reached the day before Thanksgiving. However, union members remained at their posts as negotiations continued.

The company said April 25 that signing bonuses related to labor contracts hurt Allison’s first-quarter profits, even as the company hit record sales on U.S. demand for its Class 8 vocational trucks.

Indianapolis-based Allison reported net income of $169 million for the quarter, down from $170 million because of a one-time $14 million reduction in signing bonuses.

As the trucking industry’s collective bargaining agreement ends, the early successes of passenger car manufacturers have emboldened UAW negotiators and members.

The union took on Detroit’s Big Three automakers simultaneously and achieved its goals. In November, a six-week strike at General Motors ended. General Motors lost $1.1 billion in profits due to the strike.

The terms of the UAW’s deal with GM are broadly similar to Ford Motor’s deal with Stellantis NV, including a 25 percent hourly wage increase. Ford said on November 30 that the six-week strike resulted in a loss of about 100,000 vehicles and a $1.7 billion loss in profits.

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