OSHKOSH - Jobs could be coming back to Oshkosh Corporation.
The company and leaders of the defense division union say they have reached an agreement on a new contract extension that could help them win a $13 billion military contract.
Standing side by side, Oshkosh Corporation and UAW Local 578 officials say the tentative contract agreement is a win for the company and the union.
"This is a fair agreement for our people, the company and the community," said UAW Local 578 President Joe Preisler.
"The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program is the program of the future and it is definitely a must win for our company," said Oshkosh Corporation Vice-President of Human Resources Rod Wedemeier.
The JLTV is the replacement vehicle for the military Humvee. Oshkosh Corporation says it needs a five-year contract extension with the union to help win the $13 billion contract with the Army and Marine Corps.
The two sides began talks on a contract extension earlier this year. Those talks broke down in July without a vote by the union. Oshkosh Corporation imposed a September 30 deadline and said in a letter to employees earlier this month, if a deal isn't in place the company would look to build the JLTV elsewhere. However, Preisler says both sides are comfortable with the deal union members will vote on Sunday.
"There was definitely give and take on both sides and wins for both sides. That's what makes the tentative agreement that Oshkosh and the UAW have a fair and equitable agreement for all parties involved," said Preisler.
Neither side would go into specifics of the contract extension, but it will not affect the current contract that expires in 2016. Oshkosh Corporation is one of three companies vying for the contract that has the possibility to bring jobs back to the company.
"Right now it's anybody's guess, but it's a lot of jobs. There's a lot at stake for the community, there's a lot at stake for the company and our workforce," said Wedemeier.
Preisler says the contract will provide added security for members for years to come.
"I'm just glad that's what happens, that Oshkosh and UAW have proactive discussions with each other and that we need to continue to build on that and that is what is going to continue to happen."
Both sides say Oshkosh Corporation has the most highly trained, highly skilled workforce in the country and they hope union members will see it that way Sunday.
The contract for the Army and Marine Corps vehicle is expected to be awarded in late 2015.
Full-scale production wouldn't start until 2018.
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