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UAW Chief Says Deal Near That May End CNH Industrial Strike

More than 1,000 workers have been on strike for nearly nine months.

United Auto Workers President Ray Curry is interviewed, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Detroit.
United Auto Workers President Ray Curry is interviewed, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Detroit.
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

DETROIT (AP) — The United Auto Workers president says the union is close to reaching another agreement with CNH Industrial that improves a deal rejected by striking workers earlier this month.

In an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, President Ray Curry said he's hopeful the deal will be reached "within the next week or two" and presented to members for another vote.

More than 1,000 workers have been on strike at CNH plants in Iowa and Wisconsin for nearly nine months. On Jan. 7 they rejected the "last, best and final offer" from the maker of construction and agricultural equipment, and stayed on the picket lines.

The company, Curry said, has been talking with the UAW since the rejection. "We believe that there is going to be an offer that's there that the membership will see in a different light, with adjustments, not the same offer," he said.

Curry said he couldn't disclose any details because the deal is still being negotiated.

CNH, based in the United Kingdom, did not immediately comment on Thursday.

Discussions are ongoing, Curry said, with a lot of talk about the importance of CNH Industrial's two UAW-represented locations in Burlington, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin.

After the offer was rejected, CNH said it was disappointed. The improved offer included wage increases of 28% to 38% over four years, the company said in a statement. "While we await the union's next step, CNH Industrial remains committed to honoring and meeting the needs and demands of our customers and, therefore, we will continue operations at both our Burlington and Racine sites," the statement said.

Workers at the two plants previously rejected at the start of the strike a three-year deal that included 18.5% raises because of concerns that the proposed raises wouldn't cover soaring inflation and health insurance costs.

CNH Industrial has more than 37,000 employees worldwide. In its most recent earnings report, CNH reported a profit of $559 million in the third quarter. That's up nearly 22% from the previous year's $460 million net income as it increased the prices of its tractors, backhoes and other equipment.

The CNH strike is one of the longest ones over the past couple of years as workers have increasingly demanded better pay and working conditions coming out of the pandemic. There have been a number of strikes, including a high-profile monthlong strike involving 10,000 Deere & Co. workers, and several new unions have been established at Starbucks stores and Amazon warehouses although some locations have rejected unions. The Deere workers secured 10% raises and improved benefits after their strike.

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