Labor shortage leaves union workers feeling more emboldened

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — When negotiations failed to produce a new contract at a Volvo plant in Virginia this spring, its 2,900 workers went on strike. 

The company soon dangled what looked like a tempting offer — at least to the United Auto Workers local leaders who recommended it to their members: Pay raises. Signing bonuses. Lower-priced health care. 

Yet the workers overwhelmingly rejected the proposal. And then a second one, too. Finally, they approved a third offer that provided even higher raises, plus lump-sum bonuses.

For the union, it was a breakthrough that wouldn’t likely have happened as recently as last year. That was before the pandemic spawned a worker

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