MACUNGIE, Pa. — Mack Trucks plans to lay off 305 employees at its assembly plant north of Philadelphia, the company said Wednesday.
Mack blamed the layoffs at its Lower Macungie Township plant on a downturn in the heavy-duty truck market. They will take effect at the end of February, The Morning Call of Allentown reported. The cuts represent about 13% of the plant’s payroll.
“We regret having to take this action, but we operate in a cyclical market, and after two years of extremely high volumes, we have to adapt to reduced market demand,” said Mack spokesman Christopher Heffner.
Employees, most of whom belong to the auto workers union, were informed of the news Wednesday.
The cuts were expected after Mack said last month that it would need to slow production to cope with reduced demand. Mack expects the North American truck market to be down nearly 30% this year
Heffner said outplacement support meetings will be provided for all affected employees, who also will receive information about services available through the Private Industry Council and Pennsylvania CareerLink.
United Auto Workers Local 677, which represents most of the plant’s employees, did not immediately comment.
But the planned layoff was expected, after Mack informed employees in December that it would need to adjust the plant’s build rate to align with reduced demand. The last significant layoff at the Mack plant came in early 2016, when the company laid off about 400 of the facility’s then-1,850 workers as demand slowed.
Through November of 2019, sales of Mack Trucks in the United States had totaled 18,127, an increase of 14.8% over sales of 15,793 during the first 11 months of 2018, according to data provided by Wards Intelligence.
But sales in October and November were 1,224 and 1,185, respectively, well below the average monthly sales of 1,647 during 2019.
The announcement about the layoffs came some three months after almost 3,600 United Auto Workers members walked off the job for the first time in 35 years on October 12 at six Mack facilities in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida.
According to the official news release on the UAW’s website, the strike is to protest unfair pay, compensation and benefits for workers and their families.
“UAW members get up every day and put in long, hard hours of work from designing to building Mack trucks,” said Ray Curry, secretary-treasurer of the UAW and director of the heavy truck department, in the official statement when the workers went on strike. “UAW members carry on their shoulders the profits of Mack and they are simply asking for dignity, fair pay and job protections.”
Two months later, Mack Trucks announced that members of the United Auto Workers union ratified a new four-year collective bargaining agreement with the company that covers the union employees.
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