On May 2, 2020, the workers at the Bobcat manufacturing facility in Gwinner, North Dakota, held a “Vote of No Confidence” in the management of our facility at our monthly union meeting. The results were staggering but not surprising. Our union membership voted overwhelmingly, at a rate of 96%, in support of this motion of no confidence in our management.
For months now we have been plagued with uncertainty on the day-to-day operations of our company. The workers here build the best compact equipment in the world. There is no product that can compare to it. We are all very proud of the work we do and the product we build. However, it’s clear from listening to our membership we have major issues with the management of the company.
In the last few years, we have had multiple labor disputes on a multitude of issues, including contentious contract negotiation last year. “Leaves of Absence” are one of our major points of contention, including fighting for bereavement leave for employees to attend their loved one’s funerals. Safety has also been something we’ve had to be loud about to be heard. Both of these issues have only grown larger with the concerns around COVID-19. In addition, we are dealing with forced overtime and uncertain work schedules due to parts outages and process failures. All of these issues added together and we are seeing very low levels of morale in our workplace.
We want upper management to know what things are like on the shop floor. The workers want to be treated better. They want the respect they deserve. This workforce has built the company into a worldwide powerhouse. We did this as a team with management, not fighting over basics like safety or allowing your employees to attend important family funerals.
William Wilkinson President of USW Local 560
Gwinner, North Dakota