Union Rejects CNH Offer at Case Wheel Loader Plant in Fargo

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Updated May 6, 2024
Case wheel loader dumping into truck
IAM Local 2525 members at a CNH Industrial plant in Fargo, North Dakota have rejected a new contract. The current agreement expires on Friday, May 3.

Nearly 700 employees at a CNH Industrial manufacturing facility in Fargo, North Dakota, have rejected a new contract offer.

The current agreement between the parent company of Case and New Holland construction and agricultural machinery and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local 2525, has been extended until Friday, May 3, to give the company and union a few more days to reach an agreement.

UPDATE: CNH, Union Avert Strike at Case Wheel Loader Plant in Fargo

The Fargo plant, which dates back to the 1960s, produces Case wheel loaders ranging in size from 11 to 28 tons and having standard bucket capacities of 2.1 to 5 cubic meters.

Union members are seeking higher pay, better healthcare, and increased job security. 

“The dedication and contributions of our members form the backbone of this company,” said Jeremy Pearson, IAM District 5 directing business representative, in a press release. “We stand united in our pursuit of substantial improvements in wages and benefits that accurately reflect their invaluable efforts with economic stability, job security, and a semblance of work-life balance.”

According to the press release, members seek the following:

  • Increased wages that provide for economic stability
  • Retaining their healthcare
  • Job security
  • Work-life balance

Members of UAW Local 180 walked out of the CNH Industrial plant in Racine on May 2, 2022. Now, two years after that strike began and more than a year after it ended in January 2023, those same employees are being laid off.Members of UAW Local 180 walked out of the CNH Industrial plant in Racine on May 2, 2022. Now, two years after that strike began and more than a year after it ended in January 2023, those same employees are being laid off.UAW Local 180

Racine Employees Face Layoffs

Two years ago, approximately 1,100 workers went on strike at two CNH plants – 400 in Burlington, Iowa, and 700 in Racine, Wisconsin – on May 2 to challenge wages, overtime, vacation, and retirement benefits.

Racine employees are facing extensive layoffs at parts of CNH's proposed restructuring plan announced in November 2023. CNH CEO Scott Wine has also announced his resignation from his post to take effect July 1. 

Throughout the nearly nine-month-long walkout that began in May 2022, two votes were taken on contract offers from CNH. The workers at the two facilities rejected CNH’s initial offer and voted to strike on May 2, 2022.

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UAW leadership rejected a company offer on May 19 with no vote being taken because it reportedly fell short of members’ bargaining agenda. 

Negotiations would halt for nearly a month or more at a time before leadership would return to the table for discussions. Meetings were held between the two sides in June, August, and September 2023.

However, no votes were taken until the union rejected an offer from CNH on January 7, 2023. The final vote for ratification of a new contract occurred on January 21, 2023.

The 2022 CNH strike started about seven months after a similar challenge by 10,000 John Deere workers in October 2021. That work stoppage lasted five weeks and concluded with employees receiving 10% raises and improved retirement benefits.

Both the Burlington and Racine CNH facilities remained operational throughout the strike. CNH brought in a temporary workforce within days of the strike to ensure the plants continued to operate. 

Union officials at the two plants suggested the temporary workforce had been assembled ahead of time in anticipation of a possible strike.

Reports during the strike indicated the temp workers were receiving as much as $27 per hour, exceeding the pay rates of existing employees.

Traditional UAW strike rules were waived during the 2022 CNH strike, permitting striking members to obtain other employment and still be able to receive strike pay by completing four hours of strike duty per week.