NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodOshkosh


'I think we're worth more': Divided Oshkosh Defense UAW workers pass wage increase measure

Posted at 9:47 AM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 10:47:32-05
  • UAW workers for Oshkosh Defense voted for a measure to increase wages, but some employees disagreed on whether the deal went far enough.
  • Video shows reaction from workers on the measure.

On Tuesday, union workers at the military vehicle manufacturer Oshkosh Defense voted to approve a measure to increase wages.

The measure was negotiated by union president Bob Lynk and was approved by 64.5% of members.

But some workers were unhappy with the measure, saying that it doesn’t go far enough.

“It’s a very split decision right now among the membership,” union member John Becker said.

This new deal will increase all wages by 2% now and another 2% in October, 2024. Wages for new hires range from about $20 per hour to about $25 per hour, depending on the job.

The company had a total revenue of almost $9.5 billion in the year ending in September 2023 — a growth rate of 19.4%.

Alex Wilson has been with Oshkosh Defense for more than 7 years and says he thinks the measure isn’t fair.

“I voted no because I think we're worth more,” Wilson said. “We're all in favor of raising the hiring wage. We just need to retain the employees that we have.”

The deal is meant to attract new employees with the competitive wage, which Becker, who has been with the company for 16 years, said is a good thing.

“I want to see our company grow, and we need to hire people to grow,” Becker said.

Becker’s son and his son’s fiance work for the company, and he wants to support new hires.

“I think that’s the way we support the company is to grow it,” Becker said.

But workers like Olivia Robinson disagree. She said since she worked her way up to her current wage during the past seven years, new hires shouldn’t get more than she did.

“They should’ve came back with a better proposal,” Robinson said. “I mean, at least give us something for the three years that we had to work towards it.”

Oshkosh Defense said in a statement, "We are pleased that membership voted in favor of the proposal, and we look forward to working together to recruit and retain talented team members to meet the demands of our production requirements."

UAW president Bob Lynk said in a statement, “These additional wage increases will help our people with rising costs, and we hope it puts the company in a position to hire for the open positions we currently have.”