Mack, UAW reach tentative agreement

Mack Trucks and the United Auto Workers reached a tentative agreement May 17 on terms of a new 40-month Master Agreement that would cover about 1,700 UAW members at seven facilities in three states.

The tentative agreement includes a successor collective bargaining agreement and the creation of a UAW-managed independent trust, known as a Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA). The VEBA would permanently assume the sole obligation of providing retiree health benefits to current and future Mack-UAW retirees, spouses, surviving spouses and their dependents. The successor collective bargaining agreement and the VEBA are conditional on ratification by the UAW membership and subject to an Approval Order from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which could take up to 12 months.

Mack’s parent company, Sweden-based AB Volvo, has agreed to fund the VEBA with $525 million in cash, which would be paid in equal installments over a five-year period. The first payment would be made no earlier than July 1, 2010.

The establishment of the VEBA would allow for continued health care benefits for the roughly 9,000 current Mack-UAW retirees, surviving spouses and dependents, as well as for future UAW retirees, while eliminating Mack’s health care liabilities for this group.

Further comment about the proposed Master Agreement is being withheld pending ratification by the various local bargaining units. The ratification meetings are being scheduled by the UAW, and will be held within the next few weeks.

The proposed Master Agreement covers members of UAW Locals #677 in Allentown, Macungie, and Middletown, PA; #171 and #1247 in Hagerstown, MD; #2301 in Baltimore, MD and #2420 in Jacksonville, FL.