Contentious Negotiations Fuel Johnson Truck Bodies Strike
RICE LAKE, WI — After working for about a month without a new contract, workers at Johnson Truck Bodies in Rice Lake walked off the job on April 7, according to The Chetek Alert newspaper.The strike, which began at 5 p.m. on April 7, included all 267 unionized employees of the refrigerated delivery equipment manufacturer. They joined a picket line to protest what they are calling unfair labor practices. "The company has been bargaining in bad faith," says David Reardon, secretary/treasurer of Teamsters Local 662, who's been handling negotiations for the union at Johnson, according to The Chetek Alert. "We're not out on the street for economics, we're out on the street because the company has changed the working conditions without bargaining – and by federal law, that's an unfair labor practice."Reardon claims that the company has moved senior workers from their jobs to different jobs within the company without negotiating, which violates the union contract. "You can't move people around without entering into negotiations," says Reardon. "They've removed all microwaves, refrigerators, coffee pots – little conveniences for all of the workers that they have enjoyed for 20 years," says Reardon. "Now they're all gone. That may not seem like much, but it's the message that's being sent."