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Manitowoc Cranes tells striking machinists it's hiring replacements

Manitowoc Cranes has told striking machinists that it's hiring replacements to meet the demands of customers.

The firm is not saying how many replacements are being brought in. About 200 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers walked off their jobs Nov. 14.

The striking workers represent a quarter of the total workforce at Manitowoc Cranes, although a number of other workers were temporarily laid off due to the strike.

The company's offer includes an 8 percent total pay raise over four years. It also would give employees the option not to join the union.

Ben Elizondo, the union's business representative, said the strike could end if the company would remove the "opt out" provision. He calls it "union-busting language." No new negotiations have been scheduled.

Dairyland Power shutting down three plants

The Dairyland Power Cooperative will shut down three coal-burning power plants that have been used for over a half-century. The units are all located at Alma in Buffalo County.

Officials blame maintenance costs, regulatory requirements and other factors for the closures. The plants were built in the 1950s and only provide 0.4 percent of Dairyland's total power.

The plants will be preserved and used during emergencies in the future.

The cooperative said it will keep running two other coal plants in Alma that crank out 120 megawatts of power each year. The three smaller plants put out a total of 60 megawatts of electricity.

Dairyland Power supplies wholesale electricity to parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.