WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) led a letter to CNH Industrial’s Chief Executive Officer Scott Wine expressing support for over 1,000 UAW workers currently on strike in Racine, Wisconsin and Burlington, Iowa and demanding the company negotiate a fair contract in good faith.
“Let’s be clear. CNH is not a poor company. It is not going broke. Last year, CNH made over $1.7 billion in profits. If CNH can afford to provide you with a $9.2 million signing bonus and nearly $22 million in total compensation for one year of work – nearly 8,000 times the raise you are offering some workers – it can afford to pay all of your workers better wages and better benefits,” the senators wrote. “If CNH can afford to spend over $100 million on stock buybacks over a six-month period to enrich its wealthy shareholders, it can afford to treat all of its workers with the dignity and the respect that they deserve.”
The workers, who make agriculture and construction equipment, went on strike in early May. They’ve been fighting for better wages, cost of living adjustments, improved health benefits, and fair and safe work rules. Workers regularly work 12-hour days and nearly 60-hour weeks, with up to 17 hours per week of forced overtime. The company, which made over $1.7 billion in profits last year, proposed unaffordable health benefits and an average annual raise of just $1.33 per hour for the lowest paid workers – resulting in a substantial pay cut for many after adjusting for inflation and the massive new health benefit costs.
The senators demanded Wine go back to the bargaining table, negotiate in good faith for a fair contract, and end the union busting activities immediately.
“Mr. Wine: Our request is simple and it is straightforward. Go back to the bargaining table. Negotiate in good faith. Stop hiring replacement workers. Give back the health insurance benefits that you took away from striking workers. Offer your workers a contract that is fair and that is just,” the senators wrote.
The CNH workers strike comes amidst a wave of worker protests across industries and states, including at least 185 strikes at 255 locations in 2021, and at least 130 strikes at 190 locations in 2022 so far.
Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) also signed the letter.
Full text of the letter is available here.
An online version of this release is available here.