United Auto Workers Local 833 went on strike in late 2015 against the Kohler Co. near Sheboygan. It wasn’t a new experience for the union and the company that have a long history of industrial disputes.
Roger Bybee, labor columnist and longtime editor of the former Racine Labor, has written an analysis of that history, including the longest strike in U.S. history, the United Auto Workers’ seven-year battle with the Kohler Corporation from 1954 to 1961. The strike was followed by four more years of legal skirmishing by the company and turned into a remarkable victory for the union and the national labor movement. The strike was centered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a town of about 50,000 located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Kohler, founded in 1873 to produce bathroom and kitchen fixtures, began as a company town, offering housing and amenities to workers. The account is an expansion of remarks Bybee made at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Wisconsin Labor History Society held in UAW Local 833 hall in Sheboygan Falls. Read entire account.