Union Workers Outraged After Bosses Suspend Strike at Largest Volvo Trucks Plant
Dublin, VA – United Auto Workers (UAW) union members are demanding answers after their bosses abruptly suspended a labor strike at the largest Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) assembly plant.
After a two-week work stoppage at VTNA’s New River Valley (NRV) truck assembly operations in Dublin, VA, UAW-Local 2069 leadership announced on April 30 that a “tentative agreement” had been reached between the two parties.
In a social media post, Local 2069 ordered members to resume regular shifts on Monday, May 3.
“Picketing will be suspended and the strike lines need to be emptied,” the post said.
In a UAW press release, the Union said the strike was being suspended pending ratification of the tentative agreement which achieves “significant gains” for members.
“Details of the tentative agreement will be withheld until UAW members can be briefed prior to taking a ratification vote in the days ahead,” the Union said.
While the news of a tentative agreement was welcomed by some Local 2069 members, others expressed outrage and bewilderment that workers were being ordered back on the job without a ratification vote being taken or even so much as seeing a list of “highlights” of the new labor deal.
In response to the announcement, Jeff Manning commented, “We should not be going back in that plant without a ratified contract!!”
“I honestly can not believe we’re returning to work not knowing anything about anything,” Heather Gallimore wrote.
“Why hasn’t anyone posted anything about the tentative agreements contents?” Marty Doss questioned. “Do you mean people are going back to work not knowing what they are working for? Sounds like [they’re hiding] something!!”
Wayne Surface accused Local 2069 union leaders of violating the UAW Constitution.
“They are violating Article 50 of the UAW Constitution!” he asserted “We have the right as UAW local 2069 members to know what was tentatively agreed on before going back to work!!! This needs to be demanded by everyone that walked the picket lines!!!”
According to Article 50, Section 5 of the UAW Constitution, “Before a strike shall be called off, a special meeting of the Local Union shall be called for that purpose, and it shall require a majority vote by secret ballot of all members present to decide the question either way. Wherever the International Executive Board decides that it is unwise to no longer continue an existing strike, it will order all members of Local Unions who have ceased work in connection therewith to resume work and thereupon and thereafter all assistance from the International Union shall cease.”
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Is it common for UAW bosses to order workers back on the job without a vote to ratify a new agreement?
“It depends,” Brian Rothenberg, UAW Director of Public Relations, told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) on Monday. “Sometimes they go back to work [and] sometimes they don’t. There is no one way to do it.”
Rothenberg confirmed workers were, in fact, back at work today, but said he was not aware if they had been briefed about the contents of the new deal or if a ratification vote is scheduled.
VTNA has also declined to comment on the terms of the deal.
“Further comment on the proposed agreement is being withheld pending ratification,” VTNA said last week.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow this ongoing story.