Volvo to resume production at Virginia plant despite strike
The previous contract, reached in 2016, was to have expired in mid-March.
Volvo Trucks North America has restarted production at a plant in southwestern Virginia on Jul. 12 despite an ongoing strike and the lack of a labor deal between the company and a union representing nearly 3,000 workers.
The company said in a news release that it will implement terms and conditions of a tentative agreement endorsed by leaders of the United Auto Workers union on July 1. Workers at the tractor-trailer assembly plant in Dublin had rejected that tentative pact.
Returning employees “will immediately receive the wage increases and benefits outlined in the July 1 agreement, except for the ratification bonuses that would be paid on contract ratification,” the company said.
Brian Rothenberg, a UAW spokesperson, said in an email to The Associated Press on Jul. 11 that the “strike is ongoing.”
“The UAW is evaluating the company’s position and evaluating our legal options,” he wrote. “A new vote is scheduled Wednesday for the bargaining unit members on the company’s last, best and final offer.”
Volvo says the 1.6 million-square-foot (nearly 150,000-square-meter) Dublin plant is the largest manufacturer of Volvo tractor-trailer trucks in the world. It is one of the largest private sector employers in the region, with approximately 3,300 employees, some 2,900 of whom are represented by the UAW.
The Volvo Group is the only heavy-duty truck manufacturing group that assembles all of its trucks and engines for the North American market in the U.S., according to Volvo. It said the plant is undergoing a $400 million investment for technology upgrades, site expansion and preparation for future products, including the Volvo VNR Electric truck.
It added the plant has added 1,100 jobs since the current union agreement was implemented in 2016 and is on track to have a net increase of approximately 600 positions in 2021.