Union rallies outside Oshkosh Corp, demands postal trucks be built in Wisconsin
OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Union workers rally Saturday afternoon, asking the Oshkosh Corporation to build Next Generation Delivery Vehicles for the US Postal Service in Wisconsin, rather than at a site in South Carolina.
About a thousand jobs are also at stake.
In the shadow of the corporate headquarters of Oshkosh Corporation hundreds of union workers held up signs demanding that the company reverse a decision made last summer regarding production.
“The frustrating part is that Oshkosh isn’t doing the right thing. The were awarded this contract on the back of our workers. We are known for our quality work, our top of the line vehicles. We make them durable, reliable and we deliver on time,” said Tim Jacobson, Chief Steward, UAW Local 578.
The site in Spartanburg, will be 900,000 square feet, and is more than twice the size of any facility in Oshkosh according to the company.
Right now, work is underway to prepare the building for production, and the hiring process has also started.
Still, many politicians like Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes are demanding answers as to why Wisconsin wasn’t selected.
“UAW workers have been making the best quality trucks here in Oshkosh for over 80 years and that is a legacy worth fighting for,” Barnes told the crowd.
Action 2 News did reach out to the company more than a week ago requesting an interview and still haven’t heard back.
However, Oshkosh Defense President John Bryant did speak to members of the South Carolina media recently and gave no indication the company was willing to change production sites.
Bryant was quoted in the Spartanburg Herald Journal, “Both Wisconsin and South Carolina are right to work states,” and added, “Other factors, including workforce availability and proximity to our supply chain and USPS vehicle maintenance facilities were also important.”
South Carolina officials are also chiming in.
“I have recruited companies right and left. We win some, we lose some, but we have never nor have I ever heard of another county or state when they lose a project to go after that company,” said David Britt, Chair of Economic Development in Spartanburg County.
Union leaders say they have no plans to give up.
“Is there any chance for these vehicles to be built in Oshkosh still,” Action 2 News asked Bob Lynk, President of UAW Local 578. He replied, “I believe there is. If we can’t get it all I want some of it here. It’s the right thing to do.”
Jacobson added, “We can build those in our facilities we have now. They talk about capacity, being over capacity. We are not running three shifts in our facilities. We are not even working forty hours in some of our facilities. We do have the capacity. We do have the space, and if they need to hire we can find workers here in this great state.”
Production on the postal vehicles is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023.
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