Partnering

As You See It

To the Editor,

Sheboygan County has an abundance of opportunities, especially in recreation, entertainment, shopping, education, health care, and jobs.

The variety of businesses and the strong manufacturing base provides a favorable environment where dedicated workers and fair minded employers can make our economy even better. That is why the Kohler strike is disconcerting.

I’ve visited the Kohler Showroom and was awed by the designer rooms where beautiful products made in the Kohler manufacturing plant are displayed.

I’ve also done the factory tour several times with visiting friends.

The tour is intriguing as it is interesting to see how Kohler products are made. I observed the workers and the variety of skills required to turn out the quality products.

The factory work environment I saw was challenging. Dust, heat, noise, and air quality were controlled as much as possible but a 3+ hour walk through those conditions made me realize that workers tolerated such conditions in a long work day to produce fine products. Under such conditions workers deserve fair wages and benefits for their dedicated work.

A two-tier wage system is the divisive issue that ended the bargaining talks. “Equal pay for equal work,” along with consideration for experience should be basic workplace rules. Without that, worker dissatisfaction grows, and turnover increases, which can reduce productivity.

Abraham Lincoln authored notable quotes about American workers. I like this one…”"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration."

I hope that the Kohler workers and the Kohler Company will soon return to the bargaining table and work out a compromise on their differences. A company that truly partners with its workforce will strengthen their competitive advantage!

Sincerely,

John Binder

Plymouth, WI


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