RACINE — The leader of UAW Local 180, the union representing hundreds of CNH/Case employees in Racine and Mount Pleasant, said the company’s most recent offer included wages below the living wage.
Neither side was specific about the offers made.
CNH (Case-New Holland) Industrial says it is negotiating in good faith and its most recent offer was “comprehensive” and “complete”.
United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 180 President Yasin Mahdi called CNH’s offer “bologna”.
The UAW strike in the Racine area as well as in the Iowa community of Burlington began May 2. It could take months to resolve.
Mahdi believes that the longer the strike lasts, the better the offers from CNH will be. He noted that John Deere, one of CNH’s employees main competitors, faced an all-out strike for just over a month last fall. As long as John Deere continues to produce tractors and other equipment, and CNH is held back by the strike of more than 1,000 American workers, farmers and other consumers can turn to John Deere – at CNH’s expense.
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Mahdi said union negotiators were basing the “living wage” on research conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technologywhich reports that hourly living wages in Racine County are as follows:
- For an adult without children: $16.13
- One adult with two children: $43.27
- Two adults with two children including one working adult: $36.30
- Two adults with two children, both working adults: $24.57
In a statement to the Journal Times on Wednesday, CNH said, “Last week, CNH Industrial and the UAW resumed negotiations. After meeting several times on Tuesday May 17 and Wednesday May 18, the company presented the union with a full and comprehensive document, which addressed all open and outstanding issues. Unfortunately, the union refused to meet or allow the company to present and explain its position and proposal and indicated that it would not allow its members to see the proposal. The union then withdrew and ceased bargaining. While the Union indicated that it was ready to resume negotiations at the beginning of the week, we were very disappointed with its decision to withdraw.
“CNH Industrial is proud of the comprehensive offer it made to the Union on May 19. The terms of this final offer include significant economic improvements for employees over the terms contained in the Company’s last proposal delivered to the Union on May 1. We hope the Union shares the terms of the Company’s final offer with its members. After being on strike for more than three weeks, CNH Industrial employees deserve to know what the company has to offer.
In response, the same day, the vice president of the UAW chuck browning released a lengthy statement that included the following: “The company’s latest proposal does not match our members’ bargaining agenda. Our negotiators meet with our members and communicate areas of concern that remain unresolved.
“I understand the company’s frustration that its bargaining strategy to force an inadequate contract down our members’ throats remains ineffective. Moreover, it seems, based on their statement, that the company seems just as disappointed with the resolve of the UAW negotiators as we are with the content of their proposal.
Browning continued, “Their most recent statement is merely an effort, no doubt recommended by an anti-union consulting firm, to avoid sincere bargaining in the hope of getting members to cross picket lines or to accept an inadequate contract, to which neither will transpire. The only way to end this labor dispute is to reach a fair agreement ratified by our UAW members. The UAW remains committed to achieving this goal.
Since 1999, CNH has been owned by Stellantis, the parent company of Italian automaker Fiat Group/Fiat Chrysler.
In the midst of the strike, on Friday May 13, CNH stopped providing health care coverage to unionized employees. The UAW announced that it would begin providing them with health insurance.
As the strike continues, the UAW reports that it is providing $275 per week to those on the picket line.