OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) -- Union workers at the Oshkosh Corp. voted Tuesday to reopen contract extension talks with the company to help win a military contract.
United Auto Workers Local 578 President Joe Preisler confirmed the vote in a text to Oshkosh Northwestern Media (http://oshko.sh/1dZA1RZ). The union did not release vote totals.
Oshkosh has asked for a five-year extension on the present labor contract with UAW Local 578 that expires in 2016. The extension is needed to help the company compete for a contract to build the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV, a military vehicle that will replace the Army and Marine Corps' Humvees, according to Oshkosh Corp. spokesman John Daggett.
The military contract is valued at roughly $13 billion and is the last major military contract on the current horizon, according to the company.
The contract is expected to be awarded sometime in 2015, with production beginning in 2016. Oshkosh Corp. is one of three companies vying for the contract, which is also being sought by Lockheed Martin and AM General, the manufacturer of the Humvee.
Tuesday's vote is the second time this summer that union members have been asked to authorize talks on a contract extension. The union authorized the committee to open negotiations on June 26, but no agreement was reached by the company's July 31 deadline.
Mayor Burke Tower told WLUK-TV that Oshkosh Corp. has a strong impact on the local economy.
"It's always difficult to be on the sidelines because really the city has a lot at stake here," he said.
Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce CEO John Casper said the company "has a huge impact, not just in direct employment but also a supply chain that is significant in Oshkosh, but also the whole region."
A UAW flier indicates the company has set a Sept. 30 deadline for reaching an agreement on the contract extension.
"There has to be two sided, open conversation in order to get to a happy medium there and either our members will give us a chance to do that or not," said Joe Preisler, president of the UAW Local 578.