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Senators exchange words over Oshkosh Corp. contract with USPS

Oshkosh Corporation's winning U.S. Postal Service truck design
Oshkosh Corporation's winning U.S. Postal Service truck design
Published: Feb. 10, 2022 at 8:53 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2022 at 9:24 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Wisconsin’s two U.S. Senators are attacking each other over a decision made by Oshkosh Corporation to produce the Next Generation Delivery Trucks for the Postal Service in South Carolina.

Members of the United Auto Workers Local 578 stood by Senator Tammy Baldwin on Thursday in asking why those trucks aren’t being built in Oshkosh.

This also comes after Senator Ron Johnson doubled down on previous comments he made defending the company’s decision to locate production and a thousand jobs in the Spartanburg area.

On Saturday in Washington County, Johnson told reporters Wisconsin has enough jobs, referring to the lack of employees many businesses face right now.

On Thursday morning he then told WHBY radio during Krause and Co. that it’s Democrats trying to sabotage the contract Oshkosh Corporation has with the U.S. Postal Service.

“They’re threatening this contract. I’m not the one threatening the jobs right now, it’s Democrats, Tammy Baldwin’s party, her administration is looking to open up this contract and then not allow Oshkosh Corporation to participate in this at all,” Johnson said.

The Biden administration last week threatened to hold up production because only 10 percent of the vehicles being produced would be electric and wouldn’t meet climate-change goals.

Senator Baldwin also says she wants those trucks built locally.

“We want to look closely at the contract which was based upon an assumption that there would be use of existing facilities for production of these trucks,” she added.

Baldwin has also accused Oshkosh Corporation of shifting work down south to avoid hiring union workers, many of whom are also speaking out.

“We’re Wisconsinites. We expect a company that’s named after our hometown would have the decency to keep the jobs here,” said Tim Jacobsen, chief steward, UAW Local 578.

Jacobsen, a member of the union’s leadership team, added, “We’ve already felt the pain of outsourcing to other countries now we’re fighting against having our jobs outsourced to another state. I don’t want to move my family to South Carolina and I know my colleagues don’t want to either.”

We also reached out the folks in South Carolina. David Britt, a member of the Spartanburg County Council, had strong words for Senator Baldwin.

“To go to President Biden’s administration and ask them to kill the deal on the U.S. Postal Services contract with Oshkosh Defense about coming here because of our inexperienced workers, again, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about and she does have me frosted like I haven’t been in a long time,” said Britt, who is also chair of Economic Development.

Britt tells Action 2 News that work is underway on a production facility already in Spartanburg County and it’s expected to be up and running by the spring of 2023.

We’ll share more of what Britt said from a South Carolina perspective on Friday.

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