Yesterday, Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, candidate for U.S. Senate, sent a letter to Oshkosh Defense calling on them to reverse their decision to award 1,000 jobs to non-union workers in South Carolina, rather than creating jobs for workers here in Wisconsin. He also sent letters urging President Biden and Congress to intervene.

Here’s what they are saying: 


Wisconsin Public Radio: “Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes … says he identifies with union members who called for Oshkosh Corporation to reconsider”


WISN: “Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes who is running against [Ron Johnson] is asking [Oshkosh Corporation] to reconsider”

WBAY: Wisconsin’s Sen. Johnson not fighting to get Oshkosh Corp’s South Carolina jobs

  • With a potential of a thousand jobs at stake, many Democrats disagree.

  • “That’s why today I sent a letter calling on the leadership at Oshkosh Defense to make those trucks right here in Wisconsin. If Ron Johnson won’t do it I will,” said Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, who is running for US Senate.


Wisconsin Public Radio: US Sen. Ron Johnson blasted for stance on Oshkosh Defense’s move to manufacture outside Wisconsin

  • “This is personal for me,” Barnes said. “My dad is an active member of the (United Auto Workers). He spent 30 years on the assembly line, assembling catalytic converters, and he’d be the first to tell you that if you want something built right, you build it right here in Wisconsin with our incredible union workforce.”

  • Barnes on Monday sent letters to President Joe Biden and members of Congress urging them to do “everything in (their) power” to reverse the company’s decision to build the vehicles in South Carolina, and to Oshkosh Corp. CEO John C. Pfeifer calling on the company to reconsider its decision. Oshkosh Corp. is Oshkosh Defense’s parent company.

Wisconsin Examiner: Oshkosh postal truck contract becomes political flashpoint, singes Johnson

  • One Democratic Senate hopeful, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, sent a letter Monday to Oshkosh Truck’s management, urging the company to source the project in its namesake city, where employees are represented by the United Auto Workers union.

  • Barnes, meanwhile, sent letters Monday from his campaign to the company as well as to the White House and Congress.

  • “Corporations aren’t doing this because they’re more skilled in South Carolina,” Barnes said at his virtual news conference. “We have some of the best and most skilled workers right here in Wisconsin. The men and women at UAW local 578 they’ve been building the highest quality vehicles for the Oshkosh Corporation for nearly 100 years. Now they’re denying jobs to Wisconsin workers because they don’t want to pay for skilled union labor.”

  • In his letter to Oshkosh executives, Barnes urged them “to reconsider” their South Carolina plan and put the work in Wisconsin at the company’s union-represented operations. “Failing to take advantage of this highly-skilled workforce is bad for business and bad for the Wisconsin workers who have been an essential part of the Oshkosh Corporation’s success for years,” he wrote.

  • In the other letter, Barnes called on President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders “to do everything in your power to reverse this decision.”

Associated Press: Wisconsin’s Johnson not fighting to get South Carolina jobs

  • “Once again Ron Johnson has turned his back on Wisconsinites,” Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes said in a recorded statement on Twitter. “If Ron Johnson won’t rebuild the middle class, we’re going to do the work for him.”

  • Barnes on Monday sent letters to Oshkosh Defense, President Joe Biden and members of Congress asking that the trucks be built in Wisconsin.

Common Dreams: ‘Time for Him to Go’: Ron Johnson Says He Won’t Fight for Wisconsin Jobs

  • Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, one of several Democrats running for Johnson’s seat, called the Republican senator’s remarks “outrageous” and argued it is “time for him to go.”

  • “This is absurd,” Barnes wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday. “Ron Johnson just said he wouldn’t lift a finger to make sure the new USPS truck is built here in Wisconsin. In Oshkosh, where he’s from!”

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