US: Caterpillar workers still on strike – reject latest offer image

Striking workers at a Caterpillar Inc plant in Joliet, Illinois, on Wednesday rejected the company’s latest contract proposal, a union official said.

Workers voted 504-116 against the Peoria-based company’s latest contract proposal, said Steve Jones, the union’s directing business agent.

“They’re trying to see how desperate we are,” said David Downs, a machinist who was picketing with more than a dozen other Caterpillar workers outside the plant.

A Caterpillar spokesman declined to comment on the union statement.
The factory makes hydraulic components and other systems for Caterpillar loaders and mining trucks.

The workers plan to continue the strike they began on May 1. The striking workers have complained that Caterpillar’s six-year contract proposal would freeze hourly wages for many veteran workers, undermine seniority rights and increase workers’ costs for health care insurance.

The strike follows a labor showdown last year between Caterpillar and workers represented by the Canadian Auto Workers union at a locomotive plant in London, Ontario. Those workers rejected a Caterpillar offer, and the company ended up closing the plant.