Following on from last year’s strike action at John Deere, which resulted in a 10% pay increase, workers at Case New Holland industrial have also taken to industrial action in pursuit of their pay claim.

Represented by the same United Auto Workers union, staff at Racine, Wisconsin, and Burlington, Iowa, in the U.S stayed at home on Monday May 2, after talks with the company had not progressed to their satisfaction.

Strike for pay and conditions

The union’s position was outlined by Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the union’s Agricultural Implement Department, who said: “Our members at CNHi strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules.”

Meanwhile, the company CEO, Scott Wine, told investors in the latest earnings call that the company had engaged in a constructive dialogue with the union over several weeks and was disappointed with its decision.

He added that CNHi was committed to reaching an agreement but the two sides “remained very far apart on important issues”.

He also said that the company has plans in place to allow manufacture to continue, pointing out that the strike affects two of the company’s 38 plants, or less than 10% of global production.

Contingency plans in place

The CEO reassured investors that CNHi has been preparing itself for higher staffing costs and it will “continue to work as quickly as we can towards a negotiated settlement that’s beneficial of all parties”.

For its part, the UAW sates on its website:

“CNHi members have worked through the pandemic after the company deemed them essential, to produce the equipment that feeds America, builds America and powers the American economy.”

Neither side has given any indication of what the union is seeking, nor what the company is offering. However, it is unlikely that it will settle for anything less than than the deal with John Deere.

Its hand is strengthened somewhat by the reported 13.4% increase in earnings by CNHi over the the first quarter of 2021, although Scott Wine also downplayed expectations for the rest of this year.