Support builds for Case New Holland UAW strikers

By Dean Hazlewood
September 26, 2022

BURLINGTON, Iowa — “We are not going anywhere!” United Auto Workers Local 807 strike captain Craig Bowen told the Militant  at the picket line outside Case New Holland here on Labor Day. “And you can quote me on that.”

“Yes, it would be wasteful if we stopped now,” fellow striker John Taylor said, explaining how they’ve been walking the line for four months and counting.

The 430 UAW members here and 600 more in Local 180 in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, voted by over 98% to go on strike May 2. The bosses are pushing mandatory overtime and 12-hour days, work schedules that wreak havoc with family life. Workers are also fighting for wages that keep up with soaring prices and against attacks on their health plan. The bosses want to divide newer and more long-standing workers, forcing new hires to get a 401(k) instead of a traditional pension.

Since New Holland bought Case in 1999, the bosses have been pushing to cut the workforce and drive down wages and working conditions.

Andy Garr, who has worked at the plant for 12 years, described the support they have received from other workers in the region. “The workers at John Deere support us,” he said. There are a number of UAW-organized Deere plants in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and southern Illinois. They were forced out on strike by Deere bosses last year.

“The company here tells us we have to produce more because ‘we’ are in competition with John Deere. But the Deere workers bring us water and food and drop them off at the kitchen,” the pantry that strikers and their supporters have set up in nearby Gulfport, Illinois. “The president of their local calls us regularly to ask us what we need. Workers from ConAgra have been down here, as have the nurses.”

Like other workers on the line, Garr expressed hope they could bring the strike to a successful conclusion soon. He also said that one of the things they’ve gained from the strike is that workers have gotten to know each other better. “Now I’ll have a lot more friends on the inside,” he said.

This worker-correspondent gave out a fact sheet put out by Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 100G, which is on strike at Ingredion in Cedar Rapids. It explains the issues there. Many of the UAW workers commented that those issues — attacks on jobs, health care and overtime pay after eight hours — were very similar.

Carl Cassiday said that he understood the company was still trying to get agreement to be able to make changes in the cost of health insurance at any time, even after the contract is signed.

“But you know we are going to win,” he said as I was leaving.

Help get the word out about the strike and win solidarity!

Contributions can be dropped off and messages and checks mailed to the UAW Local 180 union hall, 3323 Kearney Ave., Mount Pleasant, WI 53403. Messages can also be sent to Contributions and messages can go to UAW Local 807, 9313 Koestner St., Burlington, IA 52601. Messages can also be sent to