Union shuts down manufacturing workers strike in Wisconsin
Christopher Davion and Jacob Crosse
24 December 2018
Roughly 200 workers at CG Bretting Manufacturing Co. went on strike Sunday, December 16 in Ashland, Wisconsin. Workers demanded an increase in wages, pension and health benefits that were more substantial than what was offered by the company. Only five days after the strike began, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 621 issued a joint one-sentence statement with the company, announcing a new three-year contract agreement without releasing any details to the public.
As with striking teachers throughout the United States and workers engaging in pickets internationally, the Bretting strike is an expression of the deepening class struggle which is emerging throughout the world. The strike took effect just after midnight on Saturday, December 15, 2018 following workers, under Local 621 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) rejecting the company’s contract offer the previous Thursday.
Workers were out on the picket line Monday morning starting at 4:30 a.m. against the company’s offer, which included wage increases of 3 percent, 2.75 percent and 2.5 percent in the following three years of the new contract with no change to annual health insurance deductibles through 2021. CG Bretting workers took increases for annual health insurance premiums over the last three years and increases in annual deductibles of $500 ($1,500 to $2,000) for individuals and $1,000 ($3,000 to $4,000) for families in 2016.
CG Bretting originally began operations in 1890, manufacturing equipment and machinery for the sawmill industry. The company presently employs 450 to 500 engineering, manufacturing and…