After twice voting down proposed contracts by 90%, 2,900 United Auto Workers Local 2069 members at Volvo Truck’s New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia, went back on strike June 7. Horns blared as workers drove out of the plant at noon to park and join the picket line. Volunteers set up a lunch buffet at the union hall across the street.
After an earlier 13-day strike, pickets had been taken down April 30, and the unionists returned to work, but the fight for a contract continued. Now they’re back on the picket line.
“We are sticking together and united. The community is with us,” Local 2069 President Matt Blondino told the Militant by phone.
Melissa McDaniel, who started in the plant in February, told the Roanoke Times she gets the workers’ message out everywhere she goes. A sign written in large print in her rear car window says, “Beep Beep, Volvo’s Cheap.”
“Last night, the company pushed our pickets back four feet,” Blondino said. “Apparently they recently resurveyed their property. Now our canopies stick into a ditch.”
Workers are determined to make gains in wage increases, divisive pay tiers, work schedules, health and safety, seniority, pensions, health care and prescription drug coverage, overtime and defending retired workers.
Bosses are expanding the plant, budgeting $400 million for technology upgrades and other preparations for building electric-powered trucks. They’ve added 1,100 jobs over the last five years and say they plan to hire 600 more this year.
The picket line is up 24/7, and the strikers welcome company. Send messages of solidarity to UAW Local 2069, P.O. Box 306, Dublin, VA 24084 or UAWLocal2069@gmail.com.