Caterpillar employees who are members of United Steelworkers Local 1343 working in the former Bucyrus mining equipment plant South Milwaukee, Wis., have rejected a proposed six-year contract with Cat.
The contract would have frozen wages, increased health care costs and offered senior union employees fewer protections. Although the current deal expired at midnight, allowing Caterpillar to lock out workers, a steady stream of United Steelworkers showed up to work the first shift this morning, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The proposal would have covered about 800 workers in South Milwaukee. Caterpillar acquired the South Milwaukee plant in 2011 when it purchased Bucyrus for $8.8 billion. By voting "no" on the contract, workers also authorized a strike, but the union has not called for one.
Caterpillar told South Milwaukee workers in March that it plans to lay off 40 percent of the workforce by June due to the downturn in demand from the mining industry.
Source: Chicago Tribune