PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Volvo Truck North America issued a statement on Friday after union workers rejected a new collective bargaining agreement regarding the company’s New River Valley truck assembly operations in Dublin.

Read the statement from Friday, July 9 below:

“Given the significant wage gains and first-class benefits this agreement delivered, and the strong support it garnered from UAW leadership at every level, this outcome is unexpected and very disappointing. Now that our employees have rejected three successive agreements endorsed by the leaders they elected to represent them, we need to consider our next steps.  The ongoing strike – which we continue to believe is unnecessary – is hurting our customers, and has already set back our project to expand and upgrade the facility.  No one is gaining from the current situation, and we will consider all options related to the bargaining process.”

NRV Vice President and General Manager Franky Marchand

The agreement was decided on July 1, and it’s the third tentative agreement approved by UAW leadership and turned down by its members. The NRV plant employs more than 3,300 people, and approximately 2,900 of those people are UAW members. 

Volvo says the plant is in the midst of a $400 million investment for advanced technology upgrades, site expansion, and preparation for future products, including the innovative Volvo VNR Electric truck.

The plant added 1,100 jobs since the current union agreement in 2016, creating about 600 positions in 2021.

According to the Volvo Group website, the Volvo Trucks leadership team says it is unlikely they will be able to reach a fourth tentative agreement before vacation shutdown, meaning employees would not be paid eligible vacation that was scheduled during the shutdown. They emphasize the impact on livelihoods and businesses, noting the customers will have to turn to competitors at this time.

Leadership says they told the UAW the would go back to the second agreement as a foundation for further wage discussions, though they have already canceled one of their projects due to the uncertainty of the project.

For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list