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Senator Bernie Sanders to rally for CNH workers in Burlington

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A “Standing with the UAW” town hall with Sanders is planned for Friday afternoon at the Crapo Park bandshell.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, will visit Burlington, Iowa, on Friday to rally support for UAW workers at CNH Industrial now in their seventh week of a labor strike.

CNH manufactures agriculture and construction equipment.

Around 1,200 of its workers at plants in Burlington and in Racine, Wis., have been on strike since early May, as they fight for better wages and health benefits, a safe work environment, and adequate cost of living adjustments.

Last week, a group of senators led by Sanders and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, wrote to the company’s CEO, Scott Wine.

They said the company’s proposal to give the lowest-paid workers an annual raise of $1.33 an hour is “woefully inadequate” amid inflation and a new health plan that would raise employee deductibles to $6,400.

“While your workers and their union have fought for fair pay and benefits and negotiated in good faith, you have escalated union busting efforts, bringing in replacement workers even before the strike began and terminated insurance benefits to intimidate striking workers,” the letter reads. “That is absolutely unacceptable.”

Other senators who signed the letter include Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts; Sherron Brown, D-Ohio; and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut.

They also note in the letter that CNH is “not a poor company.” Last year, the company made more than $1.7 billion in profits and Wine made close to $22 million in total compensation, according to the senators.

Negotiations were set to continue this week.

Meanwhile, a “Standing with the UAW” town hall with Sanders is planned for Friday afternoon at the Crapo Park bandshell in Burlington.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. and the program is at 3:30 p.m.

Sanders last came to Burlington in 2019, when he met with former minor league baseball players in opposition to an M-L-B proposal to cut forty-two minor league teams.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson covers west central Illinois and southeast Iowa for Tri States Public Radio.