Caterpillar revises contract proposal for Joliet machinists
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain email@example.com May 24, 2012 10:38PM
Updated: May 25, 2012 8:31AM
Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc. offered striking machinists at its Joliet plant a modified contract proposal during negotiations with a federal mediator on Thursday, according to company spokesman Rusty Dunn.
The union has scheduled a ratification meeting and a vote for Wednesday.
“We are not going to discuss the details or specifics of the offer,” Dunn said in an email to The Herald-News.
Machinists from Local Lodge 851 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers went out on strike at the Joliet plant on May 1 after their seven-year contract expired.
Caterpillar had offered the 780 workers a new six-year pact, but union members overwhelmingly rejected it April 29. Union officials said the deal offered no raises, weakened seniority rights and required machinists to pay higher contributions for health care at a time when the company is making record profits.
The company said its contract offer provided “market-rate” pay for workers to keep the company competitive in a global market and that pay could increase with incentives and bonuses, but it could not decrease. Also, Caterpillar said moving workers to different shifts regardless of seniority would avoid layoffs and the health care contributions are in line with what “many Americans” are paying.
The Caterpillar plant in Joliet makes hydraulic components for tractors that are assembled elsewhere.