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UAW strikers prevent clerks from entering facilities during a national strike against General Motors after paused contract negotiations.
Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press

More than 3,600 hourly workers at Mack Trucks Inc., in Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania, went on strike at six plants at 11:59 p.m. Saturday seeks "fair wages and benefits," UAW confirmed early Sunday.

"UAW members get up every day and put in long, hard hours of work from designing to building Mack trucks," Ray Curry, UAW secretary-treasurer and director of the heavy truck department said in a prepared statement: "UAW members bear the shoulders of Mack on their shoulders and simply ask for dignity, fair pay and job protection."

This strike comes in the middle of a national strike of 46,000 UAW members who beat General Motors in 10 states and 55 locations. The GM strike, which began on September 16, has gone on for so long that Wall Street has suggested it could damage the carmaker's credit rating if it was not resolved soon. The numbers in Detroit after four weeks of picketing are said to be making progress.

The UAW also called a strike with 850 maintenance workers employed by Aramark at five GM sites in Michigan and Ohio. That strike started 24 hours before the auto workers worked out.

All UAW strikers now qualify for $ 275 dollars a week strike pay from UAW, up from $ 250 a week ago. The Detroit-based union started the strike against GM with about $ 800 million in the strike fund, noting that there is plenty of money to sustain workers for a long time.

Around 6,500 UAW workers went on strike at Mack Truck in six states at 11:59 PM on October 12, 2019. This photo is a shot of a vintage Mack truck that was shown at the Chrome and Lights Truck Show on display at the Henderson County Fairgrounds in Kentucky in August 2019. (Photo: MIKE LAWRENCE / THE GLEANER)

At Mack Trucks, now a subsidiary of the Swedish multinational AB Volvo, the association said that "unresolved issues include salary increases, job security, COLA, payroll development, skilled subjects, change premiums, vacation plans, work plans, health and safety, seniority, retirement, 401 (k), health care and prescription drug coverage, overtime, subcontractors and temporary workers o g additional workers. "

While Curry said he is confident of rapid progress against a new contract," the fact remains that our members are united to stand together to strike to Mack agree to resolve these important issues. "

Mack Trucks President Martin Weissburg issued a statement saying that the company is "surprised and disappointed that UAW decided to strike, rather than letting our employees continue to build trucks and engines while the parties continued to negotiate. The positive working relationship between local UAW management and management at our facilities was evident during awareness negotiations and progress was made. "

Flexing muscle

Organizing companies outside of Detroit, especially international car companies and battery manufacturers, is important to UAW's growth and strength," said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University who specializes in workforce management. The future really lies. "

He noted," One-third of auto workers in the United States work for these foreign-based companies. That excludes Fiat. But no matter what they negotiate in Detroit, the UAW must pack and sell to workers at non-union transplants and these other locations. If they want to maintain strength with the Detroit Three. "

Participating in multiple strikes illustrates that the UAW is more than capable of moving on multiple fronts," said Harley Shaiken, a University of California, Berkeley professor who specializes in labor. "The focus is clearly on GM and Detroit. car manufacturers, but that does not mean that UAW goes beyond what it obviously perceives as critical issues at Volvo. "

This strategy, he said," really reinforces to a certain degree that UAW remains a powerful institution with strong reach. "

More generally, strikes appear to have come back as an effective strategy for workers, analysts said.

" It is the last resort's tool for sure, but we have seen an increase in strikes in recent years, "so Shaiken." The workers have the confidence. From West Virginia to New England we see several strikes. And the public perception is … if they win this, maybe I'll get it down the road, too. Their victory could help me. "

Walking the picket line

Mack Truck has plants in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Middletown, Pennsylvania; Hagerstown, Maryland; Baltimore; and Jacksonville, Florida.

" For the past four years, we have helped Mack Truck with to make significant profits through our work, "said Doug Irvine, president of Local 2301 and president of the Mack Truck Council, in a prepared statement." All we ask is for the company to treat us with the dignity and respect we deserve to make them successful. "

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The company, which has offices in Greensboro, North Carolina, said in its statement: "Mack Trucks is par t of the only heavy truck manufacturer group that collects all of its trucks and engines to the North American market here in the United States, and continues to compete for low-cost products built in low cost countries. no plans to shut down any US production; on the contrary, we have invested more than $ 400 million in our facilities and logistics network over the last 10 years, and since 2015 have put in work that has created more than 500 jobs in our US factories. We have significant new investments in both plants and products on the way. "

Weissburg said:" We are committed to the collective bargaining process and are still confident that we will be able to reach an agreement that provides a competitive salary and benefits package for our employees and families, and helps you secure the company's competitiveness. ”

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 3 13-222-6512 or phoward@freepress.com . Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid . Read more at Ford and sign up for our car newsletter .

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