RACINE, WI—Unionized workers of tractor manufacturer CNH Industrial are striking after contract negotiations between the company and the union, United Auto Workers, broke down.
“We’re just out here trying to get what’s best for us,” said Alfy, McGee, a 14-year employee that works at the Case North plant in Mount Pleasant, WI. “It’s just our duty. It’s what we have to do. We have to stick together. It’s our union.”
More than 1,000 employees are striking at CNH facilities in Racine, Mount Pleasant, and Burlington, IA. Some 98 percent of unionized employees supported the strike. The action follows a spate of strikes in the past year, including a high-profile monthlong strike at Deere & Co. that resulted in 10 percent raises and improved benefits for 10,000 UAW workers at that equipment maker.
A spokeswoman for CNH declined to give specifics about the negotiations but provided this statement: “CNH Industrial is disappointed that the parties were unable to reach an agreement and that the UAW has decided to call a strike. We recognize the union’s decision creates high anxiety among our represented employees in Burlington and Racine, as well as our other employees, our customers and our community. We remain committed to reaching an agreement, and we are working to resolve this issue. We will continue to negotiate in good faith and trust that the Union will do the same.”
The UAW provided this statement: “Our members and their families are grateful for the overwhelming support in the community because strikes are very hard on families, but they are committed to striking for a fair contract.”
Unionized employees are striking in six-hour increments, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Those employees are required to be present for one six-hour shift a week.
“What we make now just isn’t enough to support bills and student loans and just being able to live. It’s not easy for a lot of people I know,” said striking worker Alex Krummel, who spoke about what he hopes to see come from this strike. “Just having a better work-life balance and actually being able to comfortably live on a decent wage and being able to live our lives as we kind of want and not just only work.”