John Fetterman and Susan Wild join Mack Truck workers on picket line in Macungie

The U.S. senator comes to Macungie Tuesday after previously joining UAW workers in Bucks County and Michigan

John Fetterman and Susan Wild join striking UAW workers on the picket line in Lower Macungie Township

John Fetterman and Susan Wild join striking UAW workers on the picket line in Lower Macungie Township U.S. Rep. Susan Wild

By Kim Lyons

Update: U.S. Sen. John Fetterman and U.S. Rep. Susan Wild joined United Auto Workers on the picket line outside of Mack Truck on Tuesday. 

Fetterman’s move to join the striking UAW workers in Macungie comes after visiting picket lines in Langhorne in Bucks County earlier this month and in Wayne, Michigan when the strike began last month. Wild, who represents the Lehigh Valley area in Congress, showed her support for the striking UAW Local 677 workers Tuesday as well.

“Workers are the backbone of our economy—it’s their hard work, day in and day out, that makes it all happen,” Wild said in a statement. “I’ve got the backs of UAW Local 677 as they strike for the contract they deserve, and I’ll always stand with workers in our community fighting for their fair share.”

“What you’re doing is just and it’s the right thing. Make them pay until they pay you what you all deserve,” Fetterman said to striking workers in Langhorne earlier this month. “I should be here and shame on anyone that wouldn’t be here.”

Members of United Auto Workers walked off the job Monday morning at Mack Truck facilities in three states, after rejecting a tentative contract agreement with the company.

According to a statement from UAW, 73% of the 4,000 workers voted to reject the tentative agreement with Greensboro, N.C.-based Mack, which was reached shortly ahead of an Oct. 1 deadline. The Associated Press reported the contract would have included a 19% pay raise.

“I’m inspired to see UAW members at Mack Trucks holding out for a better deal, and ready to stand up and walk off the job to win it,” UAW president Shawn Fain said in a statement Monday. “The members have the final say, and it’s their solidarity and organization that will win a fair contract at Mack.”

Fain said in a letter to Mack company officials that there were several topics that remained at issue, including wage increases, cost of living allowances, job security, work schedules, health and safety, pensions and overtime.

UAW Locals 171, 677, 1247, 2301 and 2420 in UAW Region 8 and Region 9 represent workers at Mack Trucks locations in Macungie and Middletown, Pennsylvania; Hagerstown and Baltimore, Maryland; and Jacksonville, Florida, the union said.

Mack Trucks president Stephen Roy said in a statement that the company was “surprised and disappointed” by the strike, “which we feel is unnecessary.” The tentative agreement was endorsed by both the International UAW and the UAW Mack Truck Council, Roy added.

With Monday’s strike, there are now more than 30,000 UAW workers on strike in 22 states, the union said. That includes workers at several locations of the Big Three Detroit automakers, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, who went on strike Sept. 15.

President Joe Biden visited one of the UAW’s picket lines in Michigan on Sept. 26, believed to be a first for a sitting president. Biden has touted his stance as the “most pro-union president” in recent campaign events.

Kim Lyons is editor of the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared. Additional reporting by Harrison Cann.