CNHi Burlington Strike Over: Here’s What Members Won

After more than eight months on strike, Burlington CNHi workers will be heading back to work with a new contract.

United Auto Workers (UAW) members who work at the CNHi plant in Burlington, as well as another 600-some who work at one in Racine, Wisconsin, jointly ratified their contract with CNHi on Saturday, ending a strike that began May 2, 2022.

Burlington workers are scheduled to return to work next Monday, UAW Local 807 President Nick Guernsey told Starting Line.

“This just wasn’t a single-sided effort,” Guernsey said, crediting the bargaining committee, both locals and members for holding the line for 271 days. “Everybody worked their butts off to work for an agreement against a company that didn’t want to give anything up.”

 

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The final agreement reportedly included wage increases, shift premium increases, classification upgrades and other improvements. Guernsey said the latest offer will get their ratification bonuses to workers sooner as well.

“Our negotiators tenaciously bargained to the very end, even fighting for contract improvements in the face of threats from CNHI to hire permanent strike replacements,” UAW Vice President Chuck Browning said. “Combined with the incredible support from our members, it’s remarkable what had to be endured to achieve this contract.”

UAW members in Burlington had voted to ratify a previous agreement Jan. 7 that would have raised wages at least 25% over four years, but Racine members who outnumber them voted against it. This time, Racine workers came along, though an exact vote tally was unavailable.

“UAW members at Locals 180 and 807 did the hard work to strengthen the hand of negotiators,” UAW President Ray Curry said in a statement. “This agreement reflects the effort of a determined bargaining team and members being on an almost nine-month strike.”

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CNHi credited a mediation session conducted by US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh for the final result.

“I would like to thank our bargaining team, the UAW leadership, and Mr. Walsh, who helped us navigate the complexities of the negotiation process and end the strike,” said CNHi CEO Scott Wine in a statement. “We look forward to welcoming our employees back to work, building the machines that help our customers feed the world and build its essential infrastructure.”

The UAW also thanked its members and the surrounding community for getting them through.

“We sincerely thank the membership and their families of locals 180 and 807, surrounding communities and all local unions who dedicated support during this struggle,” said UAW Region 4 Director Brandon Campbell. “That continued support helped the bargaining team persist, even in the face of the employer’s threats.”

Nine months of striking took a lot out on members, Guernsey said, and 44 ended up crossing the picket line.

“Forty-four sounds like a big number, but when you look at it over the nine months, I think we did really well,” Guernsey said. “The membership endured a lot.”

And the UAW was already gearing up for their next four-year contract, he said.

“We’ve still got some issues we need to get resolved,” he said. “We’ll be doing this again in 38 months.”

 

by Amie Rivers
1/25/23

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