The 400 union workers who’ve been on strike at the CNH Industrial plant in Burlington will be voting on a contract offer soon.
The United Auto Workers describes the proposal as the company’s “upgraded last, best and final offer.” The strike at the plant, which makes Case IH and New Holland equipment, has entered its eighth month. This is the first time the UAW has brought an offer up for a vote.
“Whatever has changed is enough that the negotiating committee has decided now is the time to have the membership decide what we should do with this latest offer,” says Paul Iverson of the University of Iowa Labor Center.
About 400 workers in Burlington and another 600 at a CNHI plant in Racine, Wisconsin, went on strike May 2, seeking better pay and health care benefits as well as more flexibility in scheduling time off. Iverson says those are common demands in labor negotiations over the past few years.
“You’ve got plenty of people who are willing to work, but they’re not willing to work at the low wages and onerous working conditions that some of them worked for at the beginning of the pandemic,” Iverson says, “so that’s a persistent change.”
The UAW locals in Burlington and Racine that represent the Case New Holland workers have not revealed details of the contract offer. Iverson notes the union hasn’t said whether it will recommend ratifying the deal either.
“Probably everybody is hoping this offer is sufficient, that the workers are willing to accept it, but I have no idea how it has changed from before and what the vote will be,” Iverson says. “It would be great if the workers are treated with sufficient respect and get a good enough economic offer that they can go back to work.”
A UAW statement indicates local union leaders will tell members when and where ratification meetings and votes will be held.