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Union Leader Leery of Mack Plans to Replace Allentown Plant

October 18, 1985

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) _ Mack Trucks Inc.’s plan to replace a nearly 60-year-old truck factory employing more than 1,800 people here has a union leader wondering if his members would lose their jobs.

The decision to replace the Allentown plant by mid-1987 was announced on Thursday as Mack reported a net loss of nearly $65 million for the third quarter of 1985.

The company said it would decide on a location for a new, more modern plant by the end of the year. The existing factory produces 52 trucks per day, but the planned facility would be capable of producing 70 per day, said Mack spokesman W.D. McCullough.

Eugene McCafferty, president of Local 677 of the United Auto Workers, said UAW members at the plant have had fathers and grandfathers working for Mack here, where the company has operated since 1905.

″I honestly feel that this company in my opinion and in our members’ opinion has a moral obligation to their families and Allentown to build a plant in Allentown or (at least) the Lehigh Valley,″ McCafferty said.

If the company decides to build elsewhere, he said, ″it’s certainly going to have a devastating effect″ on the members.

″I think they’d be very foolish to build elsewhere because they have the experience here, and as we all know, experience is the best teacher,″ McCafferty said.

Mack spokesman McCullough said a decision on the location of the new plant would be made by Dec. 20. He said it could be built in the same location as the existing factory, known as Mack’s 5C plant.

McCullough said one of the items being studied by the company is the number of employees that would be needed for the new plant.