The truck drivers who serve as a link between assembly plants and showrooms have approved a one-year contract extension raising their wages, according to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The contract for drivers employed as carhaulers includes an hourly wage increase of 45 cents, or 1.8%, for most hourly rates, a 1.8% hike in mileage rates and the maintenance of benefits, including health care.
The deal eliminates a potential headache for automakers and dealers already struggling to resolve inventory issues due to semiconductor shortage as well as rising prices for steel. Several automakers have warned that dealer inventories are going to get pretty thin during the second quarter.
The website Zip Recruiter estimates carhaulers were making an average of about $80,000 annually prior to the new contract extension. The new contract expires May 31, 2022. Negotiations on the next deal will begin after the Teamsters election in November.
The one-year extension was approved by more than 90% of the members, according to the Teamsters. Workers have been voting during the past several weeks, the union said. The contract covers roughly 4,000 union members employed by carriers represented by National Automobile Transporters Association.
Extension sets the stage for new talks next year
“We are pleased that our members agreed with the unanimous decision of the union’s bargaining committee that this proposal is in the best interests of our members,” said Kevin Moore, director of the Teamsters Carhaul Division and co-chairman of the Teamsters National Automobile Transporters Industry Negotiating Committee.
“The pandemic continues to cause severe economic impacts and this extension will allow the union to prepare for normal negotiations next year,” he added.
The pandemic has caused supply chain issues that have ravaged the auto industry during the past year. Several large automakers have cut production this year over disruptions due to COVID-19 that resulted in a global chip shortage. Moore said the extension of the contract originally negotiated in 2015 and basically repeats of the terms of the final year of the 2015 contract, which contains the highest monetary increases within the original agreement.