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WDBJ EXCLUSIVE: One-on-one with UAW leader on strike at Volvo Trucks

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 6:40 PM EDT
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DUBLIN, Va. (WDBJ) - A leader within the United Auto Workers union is speaking out saying members believe there’s a lot more work to be done until a new deal is made.

Hundreds walked out of Volvo Trucks Monday afternoon marking the beginning of a second strike.

The walkout comes after members of the United Auto Workers union voted down a recent tentative agreement with the company.

“And they made it clear that there was still things that needed to be addressed,” said Matt Blondino, president of UAW’s Local 2069 in Dublin, VA.

Blondino says union members did not agree on several items in the agreement.

“It ranges anywhere from wage progression to interviews for movement within the plant for different positions and salary,” said Blondino. “This contract affects a lot - with 3,000 people that it effects inside that plant. It also affects 3,000 families out there, too, along with the community. I mean they are stakeholders in this as well, not just the company.”

The agreement isn’t the only thing to upset members, it’s what’s happening on the picket line.

“We were informed that they were pushing us closer to the road, which I feel is unsafe,” said Blondino.

Volvo Trucks recently resurveyed its property lines, so it’s clearly identified. Those on the picket line said when the survey happened, they had to move closer to the road, unable to strike on company property.

“We striked for two weeks in the past, and had no issues before, and now all of a sudden they say they’ve surveyed it, and they’re saying that the line is closer to the road,” said Blondino.

We did reach out to Volvo to get a statement explaining the recent survey and why union members are being asked to move. In their response, corporate communications wrote:

“Our position has always been that picketers should not be on our property. The only difference is that we’ve now more clearly identified where the property line is and have shared that with the UAW. We are very confident that there is plenty of room to picket safely, away from the road.”

The email went on to say, “The only complaint we’ve heard from the UAW is about the fact that we declined to allow them to set up a canopy on our property.”

The Local 2069 president says the safety of union members is their top priority whether in the plant or on strike.

“Whatever that takes we’re willing to be there, and we’ll see where it goes from there,” said Blondino.

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