Daimler Truck North America's Cleveland, N.C, Truck Manufacturing Plant

Daimler Truck, UAW reach tentative agreement

April 30, 2024
UAW workers at several DTNA facilities will see 25% raises over the next four years if they ratify the proposed new contract.

Daimler Truck North America avoided potential strikes at five plants by tentatively agreeing with United Auto Workers on a new four-year contract April 26. The previous contract was set to expire that midnight.

To make it official, the estimated 7,400 UAW members still must ratify the contract. The workers are spread out across five DTNA manufacturing and component facilities in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, where they build and support Freightliner and Western Star trucks, as well as Thomas Built buses. In March, 96% of the members voted to authorize a strike if a new collective agreement was not reached by the time the current one expired.

According to UAW President Shawn Fain, who has accrued several victories against auto and truck makers in the last six months, these DTNA workers are now set to get a 25% or more salary increase over the next four years, which includes an immediate 10% raise. With two 3% bumps over the next 12 months, that would climb to 16%.

The UAW had railed against parent company Daimler Truck, which generated $6 billion in 2023 (a 39% profit increase over 2022), to spend $2.1 billion on stock buybacks. The UAW argued this would benefit stockholders while the UAW workers “who make the profits” would still be struggling with wages that have not kept up with inflation and uncertain job security, according to UAW members featured on a video posted by the UAW.

The UAW also noted that “over the past six years, Daimler’s profits have increased by 90% while workers’ buying power has fallen 13%.”

Now apparently, these workers are the first Daimler workers to enjoy profit sharing, according to Fain.

“We said the company doesn’t get to keep all the profits while the workers who build the product get crumbs,” he said. “So we won profit-sharing for the first time in Daimler history to get our share of that so-called ‘leftover money’ from their ‘red hot’ profits."

Because wage tiers were eliminated, the workers who make Thomas Built buses at the Saf-T-Liner C2 Plant in High Point, North Carolina, will be paid equal to their truck counterparts. At the low end, some bus builders will get an $8/hour raise, while others may receive an additional $17+/hour.

A provision was also included to guarantee build rates at the U.S. plants. DTNA also has truck manufacturing plants in Santiago Tianguistenco and Saltillo, Mexico.

“This guarantees a certain minimum number of vehicles will be built at each plant, so workers can know their work will be there tomorrow,” Fain said.

Earlier in the week, the UAW heated up negotiations with Daimler by filing four unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. These included retaliation against union activities, interference with workers’ rights, discrimination against union members, and failure to bargain in good faith.

Fain took over as UAW president last March and has claimed union wins at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis, which all experienced tactical strikes at key plants last fall.

Union members at three Mack Trucks sites left work for 39 days before a new agreement was reached in November. The five-year deal is up in 2028.

The UAW also held strikes at Volvo Trucks North America plants in 2021, and the six-year contract reached in April 2021 expires in 2027.

Navistar’s contract with the UAW was extended in 2021 and goes through September 2026.

About the Author

John Hitch | Editor-in-chief, Fleet Maintenance

John Hitch is the editor-in-chief of Fleet Maintenance, where his mission is to provide maintenance management and technicians with the the latest information on the tools and strategies to keep their fleets' commercial vehicles moving.

He is based out of Cleveland, Ohio, and has worked in the B2B journalism space for more than a decade.

Hitch was previously senior editor for FleetOwner, and covers everything related to trucking and commercial vehicle equipment, including breaking news, the latest trends and best practices. He previously wrote about manufacturing and advanced technology for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest.

Prior to that he was editor for Kent State University's student magazine, The Burr, and a freelancer for Cleveland Magazine. He is an award-winning journalist and former sonar technician, where he served honorably aboard the fast-attack submarine USS Oklahoma City (SSN-723).

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