Kohler Co. shows signs of a negotiation: “Everybody would like to go back to work”

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SHEBOYGAN -- After weeks on the picket line, it's possible the strike by Kohler Company workers could be nearing its end. Back on November 15th, members of United Auto Workers Local 833 voted to go on strike. Friday, December 4th we're getting news that the two sides have met and plan to do so again next week.

Kohler Co. strike

Kohler Co. strike

Kohler Co. workers walked off the job in mid November, and nearly three weeks later, signs and picket lines are still a constant presence.

"Everybody would like to go back to work but it's got to be under the right circumstances so we're out here until we get the right contract offer and then we'll be happy to go back," said Jason Miller, Kohler Co. worker on strike.

The major sticking points in contract talks centered on Kohler Co.'s two-tiered wage system and also on health care.

"Not everybody can go to college and get a corporate job or whatever, you got to have people working factories and if factories aren't going to pay a fair wage to everybody, then what are these guys going to have to look forward to," said Miller.

Workers take shifts manning the picket lines and huddle near fires as the temperatures drop.

Kohler Co. strike

Kohler Co. strike

"It's very tough because there's a lot of uncertainty with everybody out here. We're all kind of uncertain and we're hoping for an end to this soon," said David Glander, Kohler Co. worker on strike.

Late this week, signs that an end may be coming. In an email, a Kohler Co. spokesman says:

"We can confirm that Kohler Co. and the UAW bargaining teams met this week to talk about the contract and have plans to meet and talk next week."

A union representative also tells us the two sides talked on Thursday, December 3rd. Some on the picket lines say that is hopeful news.

Kohler Co. strike

Kohler Co. strike

"The fact that they're going to start talking is definitely a positive sign so we're real hopeful that that'll come to a resolution and we can get back to business as usual," said Glander.

FOX6 News was unable to find out specifically when the two sides plan to meet again, but we are told that it will be next week.

10 comments

  • R

    You have absolutely no idea how replaceable you are. Literally, find someone new tomorrow to stand at a machine and push a button. Get over yourself you union parasite. They can move your job overseas tomorrow and you’ll be sitting at home with a picket sign wondering what happened. What you “deserve”? Get over yourself and get an education at something that matters.

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  • Wilson

    How much money have these mindless Union sheep lost already? They may end up with a .50 per hour increase (1 more visit to Mickey D’s per week) but it won’t offset the money they lost during the strike. But meanwhile the union big shots didn’t lose a dime! WAKEUP UNION SLUGS!!

  • command 16 hp

    Cm on Kohler family a few less paradise escapes and exotic cars a little more for us the back bones of the company.

    • Wilson

      You sound like obummer command. Take money from the people who stuck their necks out to build their company and just give it to a union slug like you. That’s a typical liberal dem idea. Get back to work you lazy Union slug!!!

  • john..

    Wilson your an IDIOT…next time your on a lunch break,your breaks at work,40 HR work week,unemployment insurance,safety rules on the job..THANK THE UNIONS..i could go on and on..do you really think these companys gave these out of the kindness of there hearts,THE UNIONS FOUGHT FOR WORKERS RIGHTS FOR MANY YEARS..you should be making $6.00 per…and nothing else…SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND GET BACK TO WORK AND LEARN ABOUT THE LABOR MOVEMENT..

    • ErkomischKohler

      I grow weary of union employees telling me how the union is responsible for my gainful employment. The factory conditions the unions rectified in the early 20th century are now entirely regulated by our federal government, leaving only collective bargaining as their purpose. I negotiated my salary, by myself, for myself. I, as a non-union employee, would love the health benefits offered to the union in this latest contract. The coverage is exactly the same, at a cost of about 80% of my plan costs. If this is truly about fair pay, and elimination of tiered compensation, then I would expect ratification of a contract paying all union employees exactly the same, for performing the same work. This would include reducing tier A employees wages to an average of industry standard, not a mean of $23. If union employees want higher earning power, dissolve the unions, have your own voice in what and how you are employed, and use the money wasted on union representation to further education. Stop waving at me as I drive by, I know it is not sincere. If the Kohler police force was worth anything, it would fine strikers for standing, and stopping vehicles, in the street and in the entrances of the factory. These are good people who have been led down a dangerous path of misinformation for their union representation, and will ultimately blame Kohler for their misfortune. I hope someday they will realize their folly and have the same fervor toward the union leaders they have wrongly trusted.

    • ErkomischKohler

      94% are not on the picket line right now. Is all of trash and shanty town material up for grabs? Dibs on propane heaters.

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