BRADLEY, ILLINOIS — As CSL, a global biotechnology leader, celebrates financial successes, the streets of Bradley tell a contrasting story.
Thursday marks Day 1 of an impassioned strike, with Union members of the International chemical workers union Local 498C holding their ground on the picket lines outside CSL Behring, Kankakee County’s second-largest employer.
Earlier this week, Vice President of Local 498C Michael Crane honed in on the dispute’s heart in a statement posted to social media: “This strike is not about money. It’s about job security. CSL has been contracting out our day-to-day work going on 2 years now. We as a local are trying to put or change verbiage in our contract that protects our jobs.” The claim resonates deeply, especially when juxtaposed against CSL’s recent financial reports, which announced a net profit after tax of $2.61 billion, reflecting a 20% year-over-year increase.
Despite the company’s global achievements, tension brews in Bradley. CSL Behring reportedly offered union workers an 11% pay raise over the next three years, additional benefits, and an extra pay holiday. Yet, on Sunday afternoon, a resounding 99% of union members voted against this proposal.
Crane’s digital plea reached out to the Bradley community for support. “75% of our union members contribute to this local economy. Your support means everything,” Crane emphasized.
While Dr. Paul McKenzie, CSL’s Chief Executive Officer, champions the company’s mission of “delivering innovative medicines and safeguarding public health,” the pressing issue in Bradley suggests a potential disconnect between the company’s global ambitions and the needs of its local workforce.