United Auto Workers reaches deal with Daimler Truck, averting potential strike

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The United Auto Workers union announced it reached a last-minute tentative agreement with truck and bus manufacturer Daimler Truck, averting a potential strike of more than 7,000 workers.

The union struck a four-year agreement with the German company on Friday evening, just before the expiration of the previous contract, which was enacted six years ago. It covers workers at various plants in North Carolina – where Daimler makes Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner and Western Star trucks – as well as distribution centers in Atlanta and Memphis, Tennessee.

In an online speech, UAW President Shawn Fain said the new contract includes wage increases of more than 25% over the next four years, including a 10% raise after the deal is ratified. Fain said the deal also includes the end wage tiers at the company, as well as cost-of-living adjustments and “profit sharing for the first time in Daimler history.”

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“When that deadline came closer, the company was suddenly ready to talk,” Fain said. “So tonight, we celebrate.”

Union members still need to approve the agreement.

“The UAW members at these locations will now be asked to vote on the new contracts, and we hope to finalize them soon, for the mutual benefit of all parties,” Daimler said in a statement. The heavy-duty manufacturer was once the same company as Mercedes-Benz before it split off in 2021.

The Daimler deal comes amid a broad campaign by the UAW to organize southern auto assembly plants following lucrative new contracts in a confrontation with Detroit’s automakers. Last week, 73% of those voting at a Volkswagen AG plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, chose to join the UAW. It was the union’s first in a southern assembly plant owned by a foreign automaker.

Workers at Mercedes factories in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will vote on UAW representation in May. However, UAW’s efforts have sparked pushback from Republican governors and business leaders in the South.

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