United Auto Workers-Case New Holland strike surpasses 200 days
BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) - About 1,100 United Auto Workers at Case New Holland plants in Burlington, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin are in one of the longest active strikes in the country,
While some members on the picket line Thursday said they were a bit scared the strike’s gone on for 213 days, they also feel they’re still holding strong.
According to local union leaders in Burlington, U.S. Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh has now stepped in to mediate.
“Our main focus is to try to get back to the table and end the strike,” UAW Local 807 President Nick Guernsey said. “[Walsh] has agreed to step in, and we know he’s made contact with the company ... to help try to get the ball rolling.”
Negotiations have stalled between CNH and UAW. In late September the union received the company’s “last, best, and final offer.”
Local 807 members did not get to vote on it due to logistical issues. The earliest they could find a venue to hold a vote was Oct. 15, a day after CNH’s deadline.
It included increases in pay from their original offer of 18% to 23% over four years.
However, according to Guernsey, they didn’t make any headway on other demands for health insurance and work-life balance.
“Some people don’t realize what we’re fighting for,” Guernsey said. “They think maybe, hey, we’re being a little greedy. It’s not being greedy ..., we’re trying to get fair.”
With the holidays approaching, the Burlington local organized a toy drive for the children of the union.
Members filled out a survey to see which gifts were in demand.
“I’m very fortunate that our women’s committee steps up in a big way to do [those] things,” Guernsey said. “It’s tense, right, like holidays is always stressful, then you add a strike on top of it.”
As the days grow colder, some members are starting to worry about not going back to work.
However, for many seeing the strike go through is all about the bigger picture.
“Fortunately ... we have a union for a reason,” Guernsey said. “That reason is to better not only ourselves but better the next generation.”
The union is still waiting to hear back from the Department of Labor. There is no date set for CNH and UAW to return to the bargaining table.
Case New Holland has not returned TV6′s request for comment.
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