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Kenneth Moats has seen the ups and downs of the U.S. heaving trucking industry. In 35 years as a skilled tradesman at what is now Volvo Power Train North America in Hagerstown, Md., change is constant.
The other constant in the maintenance mechanic’s lengthy work career is the value of a UAW union card – in good times and in hard times.
“The UAW gives you something that I think is most important: respect, security and a certain amount of input in the direction of your life,” the Local 171 member said.
More than 18,000 UAW members produce top-quality heavy trucks and buses at U.S. plants operated by leading manufacturers, including:
Thousands of retired workers and surviving spouses are also part of the UAW, with pensions and health benefits negotiated as part of UAW contracts.
For Moats, one of the most important aspects of being a UAW member is having a voice in quality issues at the plant. Volvo recently invested $175 million at his plant because it understands that UAW workers make an important contribution towards delivering quality vehicles to customers.
The way UAW members gained input was because ordinary workers negotiated into their contract, Moats said. It’s having a voice that counts.
“Everybody has input and that’s beneficial,”he added. “Our union does a real good job of interacting and allowing our members to be heard by management in our facility and in retaining the concept of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.”