OSHKOSH - There are more labor questions at Oshkosh Corporation. The company wants to open up contract talks with the union to try to win a defense contract.
Oshkosh Corporation says it has to cut costs to beat out competitors for the bid.
The company sent a letter to the union bargaining committee Tuesday outlining its plans.
Oshkosh Corporation officials say this letter is not a demand but an invitation. They want to discuss items like health care and layoff procedures with the union.
The goal is to extend the current contract with UAW Local 578 by an additional five years and give the company a competitive edge in winning another big military contract.
The company outlines four of what it calls discussion points in the letter.
A company spokesperson tells FOX 11 the company wants to negotiate a contract extension to lower its cost structure.
Oshkosh Defense is bidding against two other contractors for the right to build the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle for the Army and Marine Corps.
The three companies are currently in the engineering and manufacturing development phase. The military is expected to award the contract for limited production of the JLTV in late 2015 or early 2016. Production would start later in 2016, about the time the current five-year contract between Oshkosh and UAW Local 578 would expire.
In the letter to the union's bargaining committee, the company says contract talks in 2016 could be a distraction. The company also says contract uncertainty could hurt its chances at winning the JLTV contract.
The letter outlines changes to health care, layoff language and adding a new entry level union production position. It also references wages but does not directly address any cuts.
Eight hundred workers are already being laid off from the company in 2013 as work on other military contracts winds down.
The union is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to allow the union's bargaining committee to discuss a potential contract extension with the union.
Regardless, the current contract will remain in place with no changes.
Company officials say an extension would extend the contract to September of 2021 and preserve jobs in Oshkosh.
FOX 11 spoke with the union president Tuesday afternoon. He did not want to comment, but says the union will have a response after the vote is taken Wednesday.
The union is scheduled to meet to discuss the letter at the Oshkosh Convention Center at 2 p.m., with a vote expected later in the afternoon.
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