Joliet Caterpillar workers on strike

May 30, 2012

Updated at: 1:29 pm on 5/30/2012

The majority of the Joliet workers have rejected Caterpillar's latest proposal and remain on strike.

"Looks like we’ll continue the strike line," said IAM Local 851 Business Representative Steve Jones. "Our group is standing pretty strong, we look to continue to engage in the process and cut the best deal for our people."

Almost 800 workers in Joliet went on strike at the beginning of May saying they wanted higher hourly pay and lower health care costs from Caterpillar, one of the world's largest mining equipment manufacturers.

The International Association of Machinists Local 851 says newer workers at the Joliet plant make $13 an hour and the new contract didn't include any raises.

The revised offer from Caterpillar doesn't include any additional hourly wage hikes, but it does add several new one-off bonuses; one for $1,000 a worker, if the offer is ratified soon.

Caterpillar said in a statement this revised offer was only good until June 10th, when the company would revert to its previous offer that workers rejected in April.

Caterpillar said it had "negotiated in good faith throughout this entire process."

"Despite our efforts, a significant gap remains between the parties' positions. It is unfortunate that the union's unworkable and impractical approach to these labor negotiations has led to this result," the company said, adding that it had taken its Joliet contingency work plan to "the next level".

Caterpillar spokesman Rusty Dunn declined to comment when asked what that next level might be.