UAW strike against CNH Industrial enters second week

NOW: UAW strike against CNH Industrial enters second week

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The weather to start week two of the United Auto Workers strike against CNH Industrial was a bit kinder to the unionized employees forming picket lines outside the Case Racine plant in Mount Pleasant.

"As you can see by the enthusiasm with everybody, it's going pretty strong," said Tom Michel, a 17-year employee at Case. "Up and down the line and everybody shouting and the cars beeping as they come by. We're doing a fine job."

A rally at the UAW Local 180 hall Monday morning was followed by what was estimated to be over 100 striking employees holding UAW signs and forming picket lines outside the Case plant.

"We're ready to be out here as long as it takes," said Chris James, a striking employee that's worked at Case for 14 years. "There's a lot of people that have been working here for years. We're striving for better. It's a day-to-day thing. We stay strong by supporting each other."

Over the weekend, a post on the UAW Local 180's Facebook page indicated that May 13, CNH Industrial would be canceling the health insurance for UAW members.

CNH Industrial responded to a request for comment regarding that decision:

"Before the strike started on May 2, 2022, representatives for CNH Industrial and the UAW spoke about how to handle healthcare coverage of striking employees during the strike. As a result of that discussion, both parties agreed that the provision of healthcare benefits would transition from being provided by CNH Industrial to being provided by the UAW. This transition will occur on May 14, 2022, resulting in no gap in coverage for striking employees."

UAW Local 180 President Yasin Mahdi says he is hopeful a deal that is fair to all parties can be reached, but says they are ready to strike for as long as it takes to make that happen.

"We were essential workers during the pandemic. However, when we got to that bargaining table, we didn't seem so essential," Mahdi said. "We looked at area manufacturers and what they're paying as far as compensation goes and also looked at what the vacation, what the time off for families, what this is. We just want to be comparable."

Mahdi says he's hopeful that a new, fair deal can make Case a place for workers to build careers.

"People have dedicated their lives to this place," Mahdi said. "We just want a fair agreement. I don't think that's too much to ask for in 2022."

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