United Auto Workers wins big at Daimler Trucks North America


Just as it did with the “Big Three” U.S. automakers last year, United Auto Workers (UAW) made certain Daimler Trucks North America knew that this year’s April 26 contract expiration was “a deadline, not a reference point.”

UAW represents 7,300 assembly workers at several truck plants in North Carolina, and workers there took part in practice pickets and prepared to strike if the deadline passed without agreement. 

On April 26, the two sides reached an eleventh hour deal on a new four-year contract that will raise wages more than 25% and end an unfair “two-tier” wage system that pays new hires less than senior workers. If ratified by members as expected, the new contract will also add profit-sharing. Raises in the agreement are front-loaded, starting with an immediate 10% and then two 3% raises at six and 12 months. Because the contract kills two-tier, some of the lowest paid workers will see raises of $8 or even $17 an hour, UAW said. It also contains commitments to maintain production levels to provide workers some security against layoffs.

The UAW’s renewed militancy and dramatic gains are inspiring workers around the country and in Oregon. In Portland, Machinists union members at the Daimler truck plant on Swan Island turned out for an April 23 cross-union solidarity rally put together by the Oregon AFL-CIO. 

“We’re all standing in solidarity together,” UAW Local 492 Treasurer Justin Jarvis said at the rally. “Daimler has made $20 billion in profit in six years. That’s a 90% increase since 2018. They made $6 billion in 2023 alone…. Record profits should mean record contracts.”

“These are our generation’s defining moments,” Jarvis said. “We are in it right now.”  


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