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Associated Press
UAW Workers Walk Out at Four CNH Plants
Wednesday November 3, 8:56 pm ET
More Than 600 UAW Workers Walk Out at Four CNH Plants in the Midwest


RACINE, Wis. (AP) -- More than 600 workers at four CNH Global NV plants in the Midwest walked off their jobs Wednesday over the failure to negotiate a new six-year contract with the maker of farm and construction equipment.

The strike shut down tractor production at the Racine manufacturing operation and three other plants. The main impact was reported to be in Racine and Burlington, Iowa, where backhoe loaders are made.

"They told us at 10 o'clock, and they walked out at noon," CNH spokesman Jeff Walsh said. "Production has stopped."

Walsh declined to comment on plans for plant operations.

On strike were 350 workers in Racine; 225 in Burlington, Iowa; 32 in St. Paul, Minn.; and 13 in Burr Ridge, Ill., said John Valko, president of United Auto Workers Local 180.

A six-year contract for the workers expired May 2, and Local 180 members have worked without a new contract since then, Valko said.

The company and the union had been negotiating since April but couldn't agree. In May, workers held ratification votes but didn't approve what CNH said would be its final offer.

Valko said the offer "takes us back about 40 years worth of concessions" in health benefits and wages for new hires. He cited increased health-care premiums and reduced services, saying prescription drug coverage, for example, would go from 100 percent to 70 percent.

The company also wants to keep the wages of workers hired after May 1998 frozen until new hires catch up with them, he said.

Workers said they would be picketing around the clock in front of the Racine factory.

Cal Rapson, a UAW vice president who directs the national union's Agricultural Implement Department, issued a statement saying the job action was needed to reach a fair labor agreement.

"The company's contract demands, particularly in the area of health care, simply do not reflect the value our members contribute to CNH," he said.

Jose Salgado of Racine has worked for the company for 30 years.

"It is dangerous," he said. "We don't know. We didn't expect it to get this far. ... The company is making all kinds of money, but it's not willing to share."

Italian carmaker Fiat SpA owns about 85 percent of CNH.

CNH, a Dutch company with U.S. headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill., is Fiat's agricultural and construction equipment maker.

Last week, CNH reported net third-quarter income of $25 million and said net sales of agricultural equipment had increased 14 percent compared with the same quarter in 2003.

CNH: http://www.cnh.com/home.asp
 

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Case/New Holland reopens 2 plants with salaried workers while strike continues

Associated Press
CNH Says Production Resumes at Two Plants
Wednesday November 10, 9:21 am ET
CNH Global Unit Production Resumes at Two Sites Using Salaried, Temporary Workers After Strike


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- CNH Global NV, a maker of construction and farm equipment, on Wednesday said work resumed at two U.S. manufacturing plants after union workers last week went on strike in their sixth month without a new contract.

The company said it started up operations at manufacturing sites in Racine, Wis., and Burlington, Iowa, using a combination of salaried employees and temporary workers.

Workers represented by United Auto Workers walked off the job last Wednesday, six months after their labor contract expired on May 2. After union members rejected the company's final proposal a week later, CNH said employees kept working under terms of the existing contract while discussions continued on an intermittent basis.

Nearly all of its 650 workers represented by United Auto Workers are employed at those two plants, CNH said. Thirty-three hourly workers walked out at its St. Paul, Minn., parts distribution center, causing minor disruptions to deliveries, while a walkout by about a dozen technicians at its Burr Ridge, Ill., design center had no impact on operations.

CNH employs about 10,000 workers in North America at 14 of 41 manufacturing centers worldwide.
 
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