Over 2600 workers at the New River Valley plant in Virginia began strike action on Friday.
Negotiations between management and UAW local 2069 had begun on January the 8th, but with no new agreement in place by the end of the contract on Thursday at midnight the union began the strike that 95% of members had already voted in favour of. This morning 120-150 workers were at the plant picketing this morning.
The plant employs 2900 people and produces 100 Volvo and Mack heavy goods trucks each day, the action has brought production to a virtual standstill. A spokesman for Volvo was unable to say how much the strike would cost the company which emplys 100,000 worldwide and makes sales of £20bn a year.
Union officials denied that negotiations were only over money: "Despite our willingness to work toward compromises on the many issues that separate us, management continues making unreasonable proposals that would erode the wages and benefits that we've fought so many years to achieve and protect. Even worse, Volvo is seeking to dismantle many of the most basic health and safety protections found in our current agreement."
Presidential candidate Barack Obama also weighed in with a statement: "I stand with the workers who are striking Volvo. The union's demands - job security, health benefits and safety protections - are basic guarantees that all workers should expect and that UAW members deserve. Volvo has a responsibility to work with the UAW so that union members can go back to work."