UAW members ratify contract with CNH, return to work

About 650 members of the United Auto Workers union approved a new six-year agreement with CNH Global Saturday. The agreement affects CNH employees in Burlington, Iowa; Racine, Wis.; Burr Ridge, Ill.; and St. Paul, Minn. Approximately 350 employees went back to work Monday for the first time since a strike and subsequent lockout in November. The previous contract expired in May. “We are pleased that our UAW-represented employees ratified the contract and are returning to work,” said Tom Graham, CNH lead negotiator. “We believe the agreement is good for the company, our employees, our dealers and the communities in which we do business.” A union spokesperson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Saturday’s vote was overwhelmingly in support of the new contract, which was a big impovement over the compny’s last offer. Under the new contract, employees will pay a portion of their health care premiums, something they haven’t done before. Some wages will increase, and a change in retirement rules will allow employees who have worked for the company 30 years to retire with health insurance coverage if they are are least 55 years old. Previously there was no age requirement.