Agreement reflects Kohler’s commitment to local community, investment in associates’ careers
KOHLER, Wis. – Dec. 3, 2018 – Kohler Co. and United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 833, which represents approximately 2,100 associates employed in production and skilled trades positions at the company’s Village of Kohler and Town of Mosel manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, have reached agreement on a new labor contract.
The union membership ratified the new employment contract in a vote conducted on Sunday, Dec. 2. It takes effect immediately and runs through Sept. 30, 2023. The current agreement was set to expire at midnight on Sept. 30, 2019, and union membership had previously approved to have its leadership team engage in early negotiations with Kohler Co. The new contract features increased wages and enhanced benefits including high-quality health care, pension and 401k.
“We are proud to be an employer of choice in Sheboygan County, and we recognize the valued contributions of our associates. For 145 years, Kohler Co. has provided meaningful work and invested in the careers of all our associates,” said David Kohler, President and CEO of Kohler Co. “This new agreement will help sustain the long-term competitiveness of our Sheboygan-area operations, as well as ensure future opportunities for rewarding careers with skills training and advancement for our associates.”
“The new contract addresses several key areas that are important to the future of our members,” said UAW Local 833 President Tim Tayloe. “We appreciate Kohler bargaining in good faith during the early negotiation period. Wage increases and enhanced benefits across the many career opportunities that Kohler offers reflect a shared commitment to our members and their families for the long-term.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the contract provides immediate raises of $1.25 to $3.25 an hour to the lower-tier employees, and over the life of the agreement, their pay will rise by $4.15 to $7.70 an hour, nearly catching up to the wages of longer-tenured workers. The contract also provides lower-tier workers with significant increases in company contributions to their 401(k) retirement accounts, and they will qualify for two weeks of vacation after a year – double the previous benefit. For workers in the upper pay tier, the contract provides a $1,000 bonus immediately and, beginning in 2019, four annual raises of 50 cents or 55 cents an hour.
A strong economy and a tight labor market are credited for the improved contract for Local 833, which represents 2,044 Kohler employees. In 2010 workers held an informational picket before a two-tier wage scale was put in place, which significantly reduced wages for newer employees during a struggling economy. In 2015, workers went on a month-long strike before agreeing to a contract that raised lower tier wages by about $3 per hour.