This video has been produced by two striking Volvo Trucks workers at the New River Valley plant in Dublin, Virginia. Nearly 3,000 workers at the plant are re-voting today on the third tentative agreement being pushed by the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW). The audio and video of the workers has been altered to protect their identities.
Rank-and-file Volvo Trucks workers are mobilizing against the undemocratic efforts by Volvo and the UAW to ram through a third tentative agreement that workers have already rejected by over two-thirds.
Volvo workers can contact the Volvo Workers Rank-and-File Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or by text to (540) 307-0509.
Below is a transcript of the video.
Rick: Hello brothers and sisters from the UAW. I’m Rick.
Josh: And I’m Josh.
Rick: And we’re here with a late-night plea right before our vote on the contract that we voted down on Friday. So, we’ll try again tomorrow. We’re asking everybody for a big old “no” vote tomorrow, just to show Franky [Franky Marchand, General Manager of the NRV plant], our friend from Volvo, that you’re not going to intimidate us.
We’re going to do it the way it should be done, legally and morally.
This is extortion is what it amounts to. Yep, they’re trying to ram it down our throat. The whole time, every single time, the UAW every contract says, “This is a great contract, it’s the best you’re going to get!”
It’s not the best we can get. They sold us out! Totally. It’s just that simple.
And for everybody at [Volvo] Mack, guess what, your contract comes up next time—they’re going to be coming for you.
We’ve been hearing on Facebook that people who have voted “yes” for this last contract, that they are going to vote “no,” just because of what Franky and the Volvo Group and the union has done to us. And that takes a lot. You know, especially when some of y’all guys are getting six to seven dollars an hour raise. And that’s kind of a hard pill to swallow when you vote “no” on that. That’s a big deal.
You know, I appreciate everybody that voted “no.” And the people that voted “yes,” I would like to reach out to them and say, you know, “Think about your brothers and sisters. Think about your future. Think about your kids’ future.”
Because I think if we vote “no” that this sets a precedent for everybody else—UAW wide.
They’re making billions of dollars off our sweat and our backs. We’re going home with broken backs.
These big-time CEOs, they’re not going home with broken backs. They’re having big parties. Even our UAW president, that’s where our dues are going—big parties. They’re living the lavish life while we’re in there working hard and making it for them.
It’s time for them to give it back to us. It’s time to share the wealth a little bit.
Josh: And just think—overseas our brothers at the Volvo car plant [in Ghent, Beligum]. They walked out over two and a half hours [increase in work hours] that they were going to put on their time a week.
Yeah, the whole plant walked out, just for two and a half hours.
So, we need to keep together because it’s more than just two and a half hours of extra work time that’s at stake here.
I mean we got pay, we got insurance, plus we got more time. And we need to get rid of that because if not we’re going to be slaves to them. And that’s not what needs to be happening right now.
Rick: Not to mention all the crazy stuff that we haven’t even seen in this contract. You know the deal with the whole they’re not going to pay out your vacation pay if it’s not used.
What else is hidden in there that we haven’t seen that they’re keeping secret, you know? They won’t tell us.
I don’t understand what this deal is with the whole secrecy. Well, I know what the deal is of secrecy. They just want to ram it down our throat and screw us.
Josh: And somebody’s getting paid.
Rick: Somebody?! All of them getting paid.
Josh. Yeah. All of them is getting paid. And the thing about this is—this is not a democracy. And I don’t care what anybody says up in that union hall that this is a democracy.
Because if it was a democracy the people would have voted this down and we wouldn’t be voting on the same contract again.
And they are dictating—which means a dictatorship—they are dictating us what we’re going to do and that’s not how that works.
So, all of our brothers at Mack, all of our brothers overseas, if y’all don’t mind, we need a little help here. If we could get together and, you know, get something going here and make, you know, make these people squirm a little bit.
Because the thing about that is if we don’t, and we cave in, and we don’t vote this down, you know, we’re not going to have a leg to stand on.
So, we’re pleading with you tonight to please, please stay the course. And if you do, in the future I believe it will help everybody as a whole tremendously.
Rick: Yeah, if we don’t stand up to them, guess what happens?
When we let them get away with this in two years, the economy goes down, orders fall down, next thing you know all the new hires get laid off.
And, then, guess what? Volvo says, “We’re struggling,” you know. We’ve been hearing this for years how they’ve been “struggling” while they’ve been making record profits.
But they’ll come to us and say, “We’re struggling. Guess what, guys, we’re going to take ten dollars an hour from you.”
And we didn’t stand up to them on this, so they’ll just ram it down our throat and we’ll take it just like normal.
Our union leadership would go, “Well, we can’t do nothing about it!” That’s what we always hear. “Well, we can’t do nothing about it—sorry.” And yet they still make record profits—record profits—every year, but they’re [also] going broke every single year. They’re going broke—it’s crazy!
Josh: Well, tonight we’re just reaching out to all of our brothers and sisters everywhere all over the world, all over the country and just reaching out to everybody for some help and reaching out to our local to vote “no” for this contract.
And the people that voted “yes,” please think about your vote coming up.
Rick: So, thank you for listening to us tonight. Hopefully, we’ll have a “no” vote by tomorrow and we can continue this fight.
But we’ll need your help. Keep us in your prayers, with your thoughts. God bless.
Josh: God bless.
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