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Daimler Truck braces for possible strike in 3 southern US states

UAW President Shawn Fain said workers at Daimler Truck are prepared to strike if their demands are not met
UAW President Shawn Fain said workers at Daimler Truck are prepared to strike if their demands are not met - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Elijah Nouvelage
UAW President Shawn Fain said workers at Daimler Truck are prepared to strike if their demands are not met - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File Elijah Nouvelage

Around 7,200 workers with Daimler Truck in three southern US states were poised Friday for a potential strike as labor contract talks headed down to the wire.

Representatives for the United Auto Workers and Daimler Truck have been in talks over a new contract to replace the one that expires at midnight Friday night for workers who build long-haul trucks and buses.

The UAW, led by President Shawn Fain, has vowed to strike at Daimler’s sites, comprised of four industrial sites in North Carolina and one each in Tennessee and Georgia, if key demands are not met.

In a webcast earlier this week, Fain hit out at Chairman Martin Daum over lofty executive pay and for steering extra cash to shareholder payouts instead of adequately compensating workers.

“In the new UAW, we don’t take concessions. We raise standards for everyone and we fight for what we deserve,” Fain said. “And we’re not afraid to strike to get it.”

The UAW won a landmark unionization drive at Volkswagen’s Tennessee factory a week ago, adding to momentum after simultaneous strikes of Detroit’s “Big Three” carmakers resulted in wage gains.

Jon Greene, a forklift driver at Daimler Truck’s Cleveland, North Carolina manufacturing plant, characterized achieving a livable wage increase in light of inflation as a priority, along with job security and standardizing pay throughout the six facilities.

“Nobody wants to strike, but we are prepared to if necessary,” Greene, who has worked at the company for 22 years and is a UAW vice president, said in a phone interview.

A Daimler spokeswoman said that the company is “currently engaged in good faith” negotiations “that will benefit all parties and allow Daimler Truck North America to continue delivering the products that enable our customers to keep the world moving.”

In December 2021, Daimler Truck was spun off from Mercedes-Benz, which retains about a 30 percent stake in the truck company.

The UAW is hoping to add a Mercedes-Benz car plant in Alabama to its network when workers vote next month in a unionization election in the first referendum after the VW win in Tennessee.

AFP
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