I'm sure Oshkosh Corporation employees had a restless night--knowing they had to vote today on a new 5-year contract with the company. Not only did they have to project their personal 5-year budgets based on the pay increases, bonus payment and rising health insurance premiums--they also had to figure out just where this economy is heading. If things continue the way they are going, the deal offered to them will be well ahead of many other workers in the area. If things finally turn around, then they might get left behind. So in the space of one night, those workers need to come up with answers to a whole lot of questions.
For example, if the Obama Administration goes on for another five years there will be reductions in military spending. Will that mean the huge FMTV contract will be scaled back as well? Will the Pentagon continue to need reconditioned trucks for use in Afghanistan if the President decides to pull out before sustainable peace can be assured?
What if all the requirements of Obamacare stay in place? If you think they will, then having an agreement that guarantees private health insurance for another five years is a huge bonus. It would be so much cheaper for the corporation to just dump the benefit and just pay the $2000 fine per employee--forcing its workers onto Badgercare or higher rates in the insurance "exchanges". That would make the doubling of the premiums contained in the new contract look like a real bargain.
Oshkosh is also a multi-national operation--with a large presence in Europe. So those union workers also have to figure out if the Euro Zone members will continue on their current path to mutual economic destruction. Countries in default don't buy a lot of garbage trucks, fire trucks or military vehicles. And while sales to our new economic overlords in China represent a growing market now--how long until they have the infrastructure in place to make their own heavy-duty trucks (stealing the designs and technology patented by Oshkosh, of course)?
And let's not forget Oshkosh is an "evil corporation" doing business on Wall Street--so under another five years of Obamanomics they will be paying "their fair share" of taxes from now on. That increases the cost of production and makes the company less competitive in bidding for contracts. Will that mean less work and layoffs? An eight percent pay increase doesn't mean much if you don't have that job anymore.
If I was in the union, I would have asked for just an 18-month contract. Let's find out if we are getting four more years of talk about "hope and change"--or some actual economic hope and change.