CNH DECLARES IMPASSE IN UAW CONTRACT DISPUTE
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Lake Forest, Illinois (November 22, 2004) CNH America LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of CNH Global N.V. (NYSE:CNH), today declared that contract talks between the company and the United Auto Workers (UAW) have reached an impasse, over six months after the UAW rejected the company's final proposal and following the union's subsequent strike.
"Since CNH began discussions with the UAW almost a year ago, we have had one objective in mind: to achieve a contract that is fair and equitable for all parties, enabling us to be competitive in the global marketplace we serve," CNH chief negotiator Tom Graham said. "Our final proposal encompassed the changes needed to begin to bring labor costs at our UAW-represented facilities from double the average cost levels of our other North American manufacturing facilities to an acceptable level. Since the UAW rejected the company's May 2 contract proposal, further discussions with the union have been unsuccessful. Based on the parties' respective positions and the union's subsequent strike against CNH, it is clear that the negotiations have reached an impasse."
With impasse declared, CNH will implement certain terms and conditions contained in its last offer. Specific changes include a move to a nationally competitive healthcare plan similar to plans offered to the rest of CNH's U.S. workforce. In addition, CNH's portion of the annual healthcare premium contributions for future retirees will be subject to caps, beginning in 2008. A new hire wage package that is competitive in the local markets where CNH operates will also be implemented. Under the new terms and conditions, employees hired prior to April 1, 2004 will have no change to their wage rate. Certain non-competitive programs will be eliminated, including guaranteed bonuses and ineffective attendance reward schemes. Increased flexibility in addressing the seasonality of our business will be achieved through the use of supplemental employees and the ability to schedule overtime.
"While we recognize that these changes are significant for our employees" Graham explained, "these changes are consistent with the wage and benefit structure for the overwhelming majority of our U.S. hourly workforce and with the local labor markets in which we manufacture."
In total, approximately 650 of the company's 10,000 North American employees are represented by the UAW, with nearly all working at the two manufacturing locations in Racine Wisconsin and Burlington Iowa. CNH operates 41 manufacturing centers worldwide of which 14 are located in North America.
CNH is the power behind leading agricultural and construction equipment brands of the Case and New Holland brand families. Supported by 12,000 dealers in approximately 160 countries, CNH brings together the knowledge and heritage of its brands with the strength and resources of its worldwide commercial, industrial, product support and finance organizations. More information about CNH and its products can be found on line at www.cnh.com.