On the Picket Line

United Auto Workers on strike in Iowa, Wisconsin win solidarity

By John Hawkins
July 18, 2022

STURTEVANT, Wis. — “I’m confident that the members of this local will continue to strike as long as the company keeps making ridiculous offers,” Yasin Mahdi, president of United Auto Workers Local 180, told the Militant June 17. “We’re going to be out there 24/7 until we get the decent agreement we deserve.”

The 600 members of Local 180, along with 430 members of UAW Local 807 in Burlington, Iowa, went on strike against heavy equipment manufacturer Case New Holland May 2.

“Morale is high on the picket line,” Mahdi said. “We’ve been getting a lot of support from the community.”

“We’ve also received sizable contributions from a number of unions — UAW Local 94 at John Deere in Dubuque, Iowa; UAW Local 72 at Chrysler in Kenosha; and the teachers’ union, to name a few.”

“The biggest issue for me is getting a pay increase. Instead, the company wants to take away what little they’re offering in wages by increasing what we have to pay for medical care,” said Marisela Neave on the picket line. A 37-year-old CNC machinist with 20 years experience, she had worked at CNH for three months before the strike began.

“I’m in a lucky position compared to some of the others on strike. My husband is a computer tech, and our two kids are on their own, so being out for this long is not as hard on us,” she said. “But with inflation running the way it is now, we’ll be living paycheck to paycheck with both of our incomes even if we win a decent contract.”

“Aside from pay, the other thing that most people I work with are concerned about is the change they want to make in our health insurance, which would have us paying increased premiums and co-pays,” said Robert D’Acquisto, a customer quality auditor with 10 years’ experience at CNH. “And the ridiculous schedules they want us to work. Overtime should be voluntary, not mandatory.”

“The company’s acting like they want to go nonunion, like some of their other plants,” he added. “We’re not going to roll over and let that happen.”

Contributions, messages of support and checks can be dropped off or mailed to the Local 180 union hall, at 3323 Kearney Ave., Mt. Pleasant, WI 53403. Messages can also be sent to president@uawlocal180.com.

And to Local 807 at 9313 Koestner St., Burlington, IA 52601. Messages can also be sent to uawlocal807@qwestoffice.net.