North / South America
Deadline passes with no deal for machinists, Cat
Jun, 11 2012
(JOLIET) -- The deadline for approval of a contract between nearly 800 machinists and Caterpillar Inc. came and passed Sunday with no agreement having been reached.
Cat spokesman Jim Dugan said the company had "exhausted the negotiation process" with the 780 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, who have been on strike since May 1.
"At this point, we are focused on serving our customers with our contingency workforce at Joliet, and that workforce continues to exceed expectations," Dugan said in an email Sunday.
That workforce might now include not just the salaried workers who have kept the plant running, but new, "temporary replacement workers," if the company's recent advertisements in Chicago and Joliet area newspapers proclaiming Cat is "Now Hiring" are any indication.
The company will revert back to an offer made April 27. That proposal, and a second one that included a $1,000 signing bonus, were both rejected by the union. Representatives of the union could not be reached for comment Sunday night.
Dugan would not say whether further negotiations or other discussions between the company and union took place over the weekend, nor did he say whether the company would offer additional time for more talks or move forward effective Monday with an imposition of its "last, best and final offer."
In previous comments to the Journal Star, Dugan did not indicate the number of Caterpillar employees from Peoria and other locations working in Joliet. He also did not provide the amount of "line-crossers" he said have been working at the plant.
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