Volvo Trucks North America said today it was unable
to reach an accord with the UAW on terms of a new contract that would cover approximately 2,600 UAW members at the New River Valley, Va., truck assembly plant.
Reached by cell phone shortly after the union's current contract ended at midnight, Tim Barnes, vice president of United Auto Workers Local 2069, told the Roanoke Times that workers were leaving the plant and picketers had gathered outside.
Barnes said a strike could have been prevented if Volvo and the union had either reached an agreement about a new contract or agreed to extend their current contract while talks continued.
The current three-year contract was approved in April 2005 - almost two months after union members voted against an earlier contract proposal, and a month after the international union authorized a strike if negotiators failed to agree on a new tentative contract by April.
Throughout the 2005 negotiations, work at the plant continued under an old contract, which had been extended through April from its scheduled expiration date Jan. 31.
Per Carlsson, president and CEO of Volvo Trucks North America, said, "We regret that the UAW has decided to take this action. Volvo Trucks is committed to the collective bargaining process, and we will continue to bargain in good faith until an agreement can be achieved."
Volvo Trucks North America assembles its Volvo VT, VN and VHD trucks in the United States, at the ISO14001- and ISO9001-certified New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Va. Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Md. Volvo Trucks North America is part of the Volvo Group of companies, a publicly held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. With 2006 sales of approximately $34 billion, Volvo's business areas include heavy trucks, buses, construction equipment, marine and industrial drive systems, aerospace, and financial services.