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UAW Strikes Harvester Units in Eight States

Associated Press

More than 11,000 members of the United Auto Workers struck International Harvester Co. plants in eight states Saturday.

The union is seeking the restoration of benefits it conceded to the ailing farm equipment giant in 1982.

Company officials held out little hope of a quick settlement in the walkout, the first against International Harvester since a 5 1/2-month strike in the winter of 1979-80.

“There was communication between the two parties. It’s probable that there’ll be a meeting, but ‘probable’ is about the best I can do,” International Harvester spokesman Bill Greenhill said Saturday afternoon from the company’s headquarters here.

Eight States Affected

The strike, which began after midnight Friday when contract talks broke down, involves 11,000 to 12,000 employees at plants in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee and parts distribution centers in Georgia, Texas, Minnesota and Kansas, Greenhill said. About 16,000 to 17,000 laid-off workers would also be affected if they were on the job, he said.

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The main issue in dispute was Harvester’s refusal to restore benefit concessions, as it had promised to do during negotiations in 1982, said UAW Vice President Bill Casstevens, who heads the union’s bargaining team. The company asked the union in 1982 to give up $100 million in benefits, including a rollback of a $2.20-an-hour cost-of-living raise.


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