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Kohler Company gets injunction against striking workers

By Tracey Pollock |
November 18, 2015
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UAW picket lines shut down Kohler.

Kohler, WI - Sheboygan County Circuit Judge James Bolgert approved a temporary injunction against striking UAW 833 members ordering them not to disrupt traffic around the Kohler Company property. UAW members have now entered the third day in their strike, over a two-tier wage system and a rising contributions to health care.

"We fully support the striking workers of UAW Local 833," said Kas Schwerdtfeger, a UPS driver and rank-and-file member of Teamsters Local 344. "They are an inspiration to all workers in Wisconsin and we stand with them in solidarity in their fight for a fair contract."

Koehler Co. filed for the temporary injunction, restricting picketers from disrupting traffic, in and around the facility, preventing vehicles going into the facility and occupying any property on the Kohler Co. property, including driveways. Another injunction barring mass picketing is set to be heard next week on Wednesday, Nov, 25.

The injunction comes after more than 1000 members and supporters marched about two miles from the UAW hall to the company the evening of Nov. 16. UAW members have formed an energetic 24-hour picket line outside the Kohler Co. facility they plan to continue until they win a decent contract. Picketers also stopped any vehicle attempting to get into the property to ensure no union members were going into work.

Koehler is trying to use the legal weapon of injunctions to kill the strike. This tactic is a favorite for companies that use these sets of legal maneuvers designed to disrupt and eliminate worker solidarity, strikes, pickets and other vehicles for organized labor. If the company had its way, all strikes would be illegal, taking away the voice of workers demanding decent wages, benefits and safe working conditions.

The striking workers of Koehler represent a new battleground for Wisconsin, as they are going into what will be their first 'Right to Work' contract.

"This strike is not just for us, it is also for the community. There will be a trickle effect if we all end up making $12 or $13 an hour. I want the kids and the grandkids of the area to have something to look forward to," says Barbara Turner, a skilled trades worker on strike with UAW 833. "We're not looking for the world, we are just looking for a fair contract. That is all we are looking for."

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