After nearly 30 years in the labor movement, Cindy Estrada is well familiar with the corporate playbook. “As soon as wages and benefits are decent, they want to move that work somewhere else.” That’s what happened, the United Autoworkers Vice President explained at a recent rally, after Oshkosh Defense secured a huge contract to build postal vehicles.
“The ink was still drying,” Estrada said, “when they announced they were moving the work to South Carolina.”
UAW members had fully expected to build the postal trucks in the existing Oshkosh Defense facility in Wisconsin. After all, the company had won the contract on the basis of their quality work. Instead, Oshkosh Defense plans to convert a vacant former Rite-Aid warehouse in notoriously anti-union South Carolina to fulfill the postal contract, circumventing the unionized workforce in Wisconsin.
Estrada and other UAW officials joined environmental groups and political leaders outside U.S. Postal Service headquarters in Washington, D.C. on April 6 to deliver 150,000 petitions demanding that the new postal vehicles be built with union labor.