Union workers at the Kohler Company are on strike for the first time since 1983. All but six-percent of 1800 United Auto Workers Union members said no Sunday to what the bathroom fixtures maker called its “last, best, and final offer.”
That was a three-year deal with a 50-cent-an-hour wage hike each year for the higher of two tiers of employees. Kohler also offered contract approval bonuses of at least one-thousand-dollars, to help cover the employees’ increases in health insurance costs.
Kohler says it was “very disappointed” by the strike vote, and it plans to continue production. The firm was inviting employees to work Monday at their current pay. The walkout affects about 2100 union workers at Kohler.
As union membership declines, there are fewer private sector strikes. The U.S. Labor Department reported 11 walkouts last year at plants with 1,000 or more employees. There were about 300 such strikes each year during the 1970s.