February 14, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Oshkosh, WI – Workers at the AxleTech International factory here went on strike Feb. 6, after rejecting a contract offer that would have steeply increased most workers’ health-insurance costs.
“We wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t due to economics,” United Automobile Workers Local 291 President Bob Mitchell said, as a group of about 60 workers walked a picket line outside the plant. “Our interest is to get the company back to the table with us.” AxleTech, which makes heavy-duty and specialty parts for commercial and military vehicles, has changed hands several times over the last 15 years, with the Carlyle Group private-equity firm acquiring it in 2015. More than 120 workers at the Oshkosh plant were laid off in 2013 and 2014, as the withdrawal of most U.S. troops from Iraq sharply reduced production of the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles it had built parts for. “We’re willing to meet the company and help them stay here in Oshkosh, and keep these jobs for all our members. We just gotta find some middle ground and work off of that,” Mitchell told WLUK radio on Feb. 7. Read more