Negotiators aim to end Sterling strike

| 3/23/2006

With OEMs at the Mid-America Trucking Show this week revealing their 2007 lineup of commercial vehicles and equipment, 2,000 plant workers at a Sterling Truck plant in Canada continue to strike.

But there could be light at the end of the tunnel, as negotiators have gone back to the table.

Canadian Auto Workers manufacturing HX heavy-duty and Acterra medium-duty trucks in St. Thomas, Ontario, were back at the negotiating table today, March 23, with Sterling management, according to Ontario's London Free Press .

They want guarantees for their job security when the 2007 models begin rolling off the lines equipped with new emissions technology that could push truck prices up by $10,000 per unit.

Trucking industry analysts predict 2007 will see a downturn in commercial truck sales because of the emissions standards. Many customers are purchasing 2006 models to avoid paying the 2007 costs.

Sterling, a subsidiary of Freightliner, and its striking plant workers are an example of the growing concerns for 2007 within the trucking industry.

Plant employees are also negotiating for raises and increased benefits. Workers made $26 to $31 an hour under the old contract. The two sides were negotiating toward common ground today, the Free Press reported.

The Sterling plant in St. Thomas produces about 70 units a day.