Boots & Sabers

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Tag: Kohler

Judge Issues Injunction Against Kohler Union Goons


Kohler — A Sheboygan County circuit court judge issued a temporary injunction Tuesday barring striking Kohler Co. workers from interfering with traffic near the firm’s property.

The order came after the company filed a complaint alleging that a march on Monday by more than 1,000 striking workers and their supporters caused traffic jams stretching two miles in every direction. Kohler employees represented by United Auto Workers Local 833 went on strike Sunday.

The complaint alleged that pickets spoke abusively to drivers, crowded around vehicles and harassed people trying to enter company property.

“Some of our contract security officers were also assaulted by picketers (elbows in the ribs, etc.),” Kohler director of security Patrick McCarthy said in an affidavit filed with the court.

The injunction was issued by Sheboygan County Circuit Judge James Bolgert.

I don’t begrudge them striking. Unemployment is low and the company is doing well. If they want to band together to push for a better deal, then more power to them. But leave the rest of us the heck out of it. Why should some poor mom running her kids to basketball practice have to have her day disrupted and deal with abuse because some welder at Kohler wants an extra 30 cents an hour?

And another thing… in what world do the union folks live in if they think that such tactics will improve their bargaining position? All they are doing is ticking off the community that might otherwise support them.

Kohler Workers Support Strike

Oh boy… here we go.

Union workers at Kohler Co. strongly rejected the company’s contract offer, approving the first strike at the Sheboygan County manufacturer since 1983.

United Auto Workers Local 833, which represents the workers, announced late Sunday morning that the paper balloting showed 94% of workers were in favor of the strike. An estimated 1,800 workers had attended Sunday’s membership meeting at Sheboygan South High School, and as they left they cited multiple problems with the company’s offer, ranging from what they described as an inadequate pay increase, higher health care costs and continuation of a two-tier wage scale.

The action potentially idles some 2,100 production employees at Kohler’s huge plumbing-ware foundry in the Village of Kohler and at a generator plant north of Sheboygan.

The local’s leadership had sharply criticized what the company termed its “last, best and final contract offer.”

Kohler, the 142-year-old company now headed by a fourth generation of the Kohler family, has a history of both paternalism and tough dealing with unions. The proposal called for three raises of 50 cents each — about 2% a year — for four-fifths of its workforce.

The offer raised health care costs but included a $1,200 bonus that the company said could cover the increase.

Significantly, the proposal continued a two-tier wage system that pays newer employees — about 20% of the workforce — far less than their co-workers.

This will hurt Wisconsin’s economy. Hopefully they resolve it soon.



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