1,000 workers go on strike at CNH Industrial equipment maker

Josh Funk
Associated Press

More than 1,000 workers at two CNH Industrial plants went on strike Monday in search of a better deal with the company that makes agriculture and construction equipment.

The United Auto Workers union said Monday the workers in Racine, Wisconsin, and Burlington, Iowa, went on strike at noon after contract talks faltered. The action follows a spate of strikes in the past year, including a high-profile monthlong strike at Deere & Co. that resulted in 10% raises and improved benefits for 10,000 UAW workers at that equipment maker.

In this photo made on Friday, March 28, 2014, earth moving and construction equipment by New Holland, a CNH Industrial brand, is stored on a lot at the Highway Equipment Company in Zelienople, Pa.

“Our members at CNHi strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, Vice President and director of the union’s Agricultural Implement Department.

The company said in a statement that it is disappointed it couldn’t reach an agreement with the union, and it remains committed to the bargaining process.

“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,” said CNH Industrial, which plans to release its first-quarter earnings report on Tuesday.

This is the latest strike by workers who believe they deserve more after keeping plants operating throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Unions have also been emboldened to take action because they believe the ongoing worker shortages give them an advantage in bargaining.

Besides the Deere strike last fall, another group of UAW-represented workers went on strike last year at a Volvo Trucks plant in Virginia and won improved pay and health benefits after rejecting three tentative agreements with the company.

There have also been strikes at Kellogg’s cereal plants across the country, a Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas and at five Nabisco plants nationwide. And meatpacking workers who were hit hard by the spread of COVID-19 have been winning significant raises when their contracts come up at plants across the country.

Workers have also voted to unionize at an Amazon warehouse in New York and at more than two dozen Starbucks stores across the country.