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Union Leaders Not Happy With Kohler Contract

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 3:38am

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) — Union workers at Kohler Co. have approved a new contract against the recommendation of their leaders.

The contract passed with 62 percent of the vote. Vote totals were not made available immediately following the vote Sunday in Sheboygan.

The contract calls for a 5-year pay freeze, and workers will pay more for health insurance. As an incentive to ratify it, the company offered $1,000 signing bonuses plus additional holiday pay this year. The deal also includes a two-tier wage system and extensive use of temporary labor.

Kohler makes kitchen and bath fixtures.

Officials with United Auto Workers Local 833 had called the offer unreasonable and called for more negotiations. However, the company said it was done negotiating.

The two sides had been bargaining since August on the contract for about 2,200 active and laid-off Kohler workers in Sheboygan County.

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