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Blog: Strikers Want Fair Deal as Cat Profits Soar

Striking Joliet Caterpillar machinists want a contract that acknowledges that the corporate giant has reaped record profits thanks to their sweat and loyalty.

The Caterpillar Corp. is enjoying record-breaking profits. By all accounts, they are going to see a profit this year of over $69 billion.

Company CEO Doug Oberhelman saw a huge increase in his pay due to this record-breaking year. His base salary, $1,429,505, will increase to $16,902,023 thanks to stock options and bonuses.

Meanwhile, out on the road at the Joliet Caterpillar plant, men and women are wondering about their just reward. Striking machinists from Local 851 are into their fourth month without a contract and no contract talks on the horizon.

Caterpillar says that their last contract offer was their final one -- take it or leave it. A six-year contract with no raise, not even a cost of living adjustment, and no pension credit for the entire six years of the agreement. During that same time period, employee contributions to their health-care package will triple.

Caterpillar is the largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment in the world. They are a Fortune 500 company that has its stockholders smiling and their workers asked to take the crumbs of whatever is left over.

This really has come down to a battle of David against Goliath, corporate America waging war on the middle-class families that helped companies like Caterpillar see their record-breaking profits.

You would think that Caterpillar would be proud of what these workers have done and repay them for their sweat and loyality. But Caterpillar is delivering a different message, and that is one of greed. They are telling these men and women, we don't care about your sweat, we don't care about the many years you have given to build what we are today. We simply do not care about you, period.

If Caterpillar is able to bust this union, then they will have no competition. Workers will no longer have a say on work safety rules, the right to a fair and livable wage, the right to a decent a health-care package and the right to retire in dignity. Workers will no longer have a voice, and will be under the threat of "take what we offer to you or there's the door."

These brave men and women are fighting for all workers. And being a member of organized labor myself, these men and women should be regarded as heroes of the middle class.

Yet these men and women are being cast as the enemy. And those benefiting from the corporate greed laugh all the way to the bank.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Schauer August 06, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Infamous Steve and John, there are picket lines all across this country, Washington State,Atlanta,Keokuk Iowa, Montreal, Melbourne, even in Egypt. And the fight is the same everywhere. And that is fairness in the work place. I don't begrudge Caterpillar, or another corporate from earning a profit. But let's be fair in the treatment of the workers. Caterpillar is enjoying mega-profits, because their workers are doing a good job. So let's reward them.
Infamous Steve August 06, 2012 at 04:49 PM
All these companies that are making record profits need to look to the workers who got them there.The place I currently work at is no different. When a supervisor told them we would try to become union the plant manager said," Go ahead you'll all be gone and I will have temps in here tomorrow to replace you." How does that sound? I operate a machine all day...not to mention I am the only person out of three shifts that works alone. every other operator on each shift has a helper...not me though. Do they want to pay me right to be my own helper? No, they expect it of me once I started. Why do I put up with it some may ask? There is not much of a choice left if I want to or not. I do it because like everyone else struggling I need the money. That is why I can't wait for currency to fail around the world. It would be nice to not have to work and go back to a trade and barter system for everyday needs.If anything we should stand with these striking workers around the globe to show them we wont take it. I wish there was a way to get everyone on the planet to stop paying thier bills and going to work, just to show everyone "in power" or with money that we make the world go round! Without the middle class this country could of never been what it once was, nor will it ever be that way again. This used to be a great counttry but with all these money hungry politicians and corporate greed it will never be the same or as good as it once was.......
Average Joe August 09, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Either go back to work or find another job......quit crying about this already!
John Roberts August 09, 2012 at 07:42 PM
You are correct. People will see after accepting lower wages and no insurance and doing the same thing as the guy who was getting paid good and had a good package until you came in and let the companies screw over the workers that made them the profits. If your in the office then you are not on the machines,you are not welding,painting,none of these things the workers are doing. After the temp services get rid of the unions they will start doing like they do in Michigan...The company owns the temp service which hires workers through the temp service and has to offer no insurance to the workers while collecting $2 an hour of their money.
JD August 18, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I agree Joe, if these employees are so key to the profits of the company, isn't there another company that will hire them.

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