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United Auto Workers, Sen. Ron Johnson disagree on Oshkosh postal vehicle production dispute

Two men speaking on the screen.
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UAW Local 578 President Bob Lynk and Chief Steward Tim Jacobson speak to the news media on a virtual press call Thursday.

The controversy over whether to build a new fleet of postal vehicles in Wisconsin or in South Carolina has taken another turn.

On WHBY radio in Appleton Thursday, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson questioned the motives of union leaders who are pressuring the Oshkosh Corporation to pull back from production preparations in South Carolina, and instead make up to 165,000 postal service delivery vehicles at the company plant in Oshkosh.

Johnson said he wonders if the United Auto Workers (UAW) and President Joe Biden are trying to kill the postal service contract with the company, "Because they don't believe they can unionize a plant in South Carolina. They'll be able to try. But apparently, they don't think they can. So, they'd rather kill the contract for the Oshkosh Corporation, and that would hurt their union workers in Oshkosh," Johnson claimed.

On a later virtual press call with the news media, organized by the Wisconsin Democratic Party, the president of the UAW local at Oshkosh, Bob Lynk, responded to Johnson: "About trying to tank a contract, it has zero to do with that. We want Oshkosh to have the work."

The UAW said it's willing to meet with the senator, who made headlines several days ago for declining to push Oshkosh Corporation to build the vehicles in Oshkosh, saying, "It's not like we don't have enough jobs here in Wisconsin."

WHBY reported that the senator said he'd meet with UAW this weekend.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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