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Steelworkers Approve Cat Mining Contract

Posted on June 11, 2013

United Steelworkers Local 1434 members at Caterpillar Inc.'s plant in South Milwaukee, Wis. have voted to accept a six-year labor contract that freezes wages and pensions but includes a $4000 signing bonus and shortens temporary layoffs, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The vote by the steelworkers came after the union representing more than 800 employees at the mining equipment plant turned down a similar proposed contract in late April.

Compared with the previous offer, the new contract shaves four weeks off the time the company is allowed to do temporary layoffs, from 14 weeks to 10 weeks per year. During those layoffs, employees will get $85 for one day or $170 per week to supplement their unemployment checks, the newspaper reported.

The contract ratification bonus was increased from $2500 in the previous offer to $4000 – although wages and pensions are frozen at current levels and the pay for new hires is reduced.

The Steelworkers union has represented employees at the South Milwaukee plant for decades, but this is their first contract since Caterpillar acquired the factory as part of its $7.6 billion purchase of the former Bucyrus International in 2010.