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News Wrap – Solid Contracts Source of Pride at Daimler Trucks

Each night as Jason Callahan and his family sit around the dining room table, the Callahans talk about many things, but somehow, he says the conversation always turns to his work at Thomas Built Buses.

Callahan, a former four-term shop chairperson and now Local 5287 president, is proud of the 1,068 production and skilled trades workers at the High Point, North Carolina, school bus production plant—including some in his own family.

“We have those conversations because we take pride in our work,” Callahan said. “We know that what happens here is not one-sided. We believe we earn our money and we build a great product, and good contracts help the company and our members build a good relationship and a strong company.”

In July, Callahan and his coworkers joined other UAW members at Daimler Trucks North America facilities in ratifying a new six-year contract agreement. The agreements also cover UAW members at Daimler Trucks North America facilities at Cleveland TMP, Local 3520, in Cleveland, North Carolina, Gastonia/Parts, Local 5286, in Gastonia, North Carolina, Mount Holly TMP, Local 5285, in Mount Holly, North Carolina, Atlanta PDC, Local 10, in Atlanta, Georgia, and Memphis PDC, Local 2406, in Memphis, Tennessee.

UAW President Gary Jones says that agreement represents a hard-won victory for members at Daimler Trucks North America. “UAW members like Jason Callahan and his coworkers demonstrated that preparation and solidarity can achieve fair wages and benefits at the negotiating table,” said Jones. “Members negotiated a solid agreement with clear gains including wage increases, lump-sum payments and other benefits. We’re proud of the work they’ve done and the well-deserved contract they received.”

“This was a challenging round of negotiations, but one that showed the power of perseverance and solidarity,” said UAW Secretary-Treasurer and Director of the UAW Heavy Truck Department Ray Curry. “In the end, the members at this facility and five others won increased benefits and maintained job security as they continue to build great products and strong communities.”

“We congratulate our members at Daimler Trucks for winning a contract that provides significant gains over the life of the agreement,” said Mitchell Smith, director of UAW Region 8, where the Daimler facilities are located. “Their solidarity during this process enabled the bargaining committee to negotiate a solid contract.”

The agreement includes a $4,000 ratification bonus, increased health care benefits, lump-sum wage increases and an extra week of vacation for UAW members who have worked at the company for 25-plus years.

“We have a high seniority plant and something like that makes a big difference,” said Callahan. “Most of all, we have a voice at the workplace. You get married and you have a voice in what happens at home and when you come to work, you should have a say in what happens. That’s what a UAW contract gives us, and we are proud of that,” he said.

“Some of my family and friends work here, and I would just be tickled if one day a grandchild would want to come to work here, too,” he said. “That’s how proud I am of what we have achieved here. We negotiate contracts that give us a solid foundation for the future.”