Title: Thousands of UAW Members Stage Rally in Chicago, Mack Truck Workers Join Nationwide Strike
Date: October 7, 2023
On October 7, 2023, thousands of United Auto Workers (UAW) members gathered at the UAW Local 551 hall in Chicago, Illinois, for a massive rally in support of the ongoing labor union strike. The strike, which involves approximately 3,900 UAW members employed by Mack Trucks, was triggered by the rejection of a tentative agreement reached between the company and the union.
In a significant blow to Mack Trucks, 73% of UAW members voted against the proposed deal, prompting strikes that will commence on Monday at 7 a.m. at facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida. The Mack Trucks workers will join more than 25,000 other UAW members from renowned automakers such as General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis who are also on strike.
UAW President Shawn Fain had set high expectations for record contracts, making the Mack Trucks deal a test of the workers’ willingness to approve the agreement. However, many workers found the proposed agreement to be “disgraceful” and an “insult,” especially when compared to the potential benefits negotiated by the Detroit automakers.
While Mack Trucks is a separate entity from Detroit-based companies, workers had anticipated similar wage increases and benefits. The tentative agreement offered a wage increase of approximately 19% over the five-year deal, along with bonuses and increased 401(k) company contributions. However, it fell short of expectations as it did not address the elimination of wage tiers or implement shorter work weeks.
In stark contrast, UAW negotiators pushing for contracts with the Detroit automakers have demanded a 40% pay increase, cost-of-living allowances, and improved work-life balance, among other benefits.
Expressing disappointment and surprise over the strike, Mack Trucks President Stephen Roy reaffirmed the company’s commitment to achieving an agreement that balances competitive wages and benefits while also safeguarding the company’s future.
UAW President Shawn Fain acknowledged that outstanding issues persist in the negotiations with Mack Trucks but emphasized the union’s determination to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.
As the nationwide strike gains momentum, thousands of UAW members standing united in their demands hope to secure not only a fair deal for themselves but also set precedence for the broader automotive industry.