April 2, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Decatur, IL,—United Auto Workers members at Caterpillar Inc. voted Mar. 26 to ratify a six-year contract with the heavy-equipment manufacturer. The deal covers about 5,000 workers in Illinois and Pennsylvania.
It includes two 2% raises for workers hired after the two-tier system began in 2005; a $1,000 bonus in December 2020 for those on the job before then; and periodic “market-based rate adjustments” if comparable jobs elsewhere pay more. The UAW recommended ratification. But the promised $3,000 signing bonus might be reduced to only $2,000, because Local 974 in Peoria voted against the deal, Decatur's UAW Local 751 said in a Facebook posting Mar. 27. The Peoria workers are scheduled to vote again on their local factory agreement Apr. 1, the UAW regional leadership said in a statement. The contract also includes provisions for the closure of Caterpillar’s Aurora plant, which makes compactors and large and medium wheel loaders. The about 800 production workers who will lose their jobs will get 40 hours of severance pay for each year of service and the right to pay for 18 months of COBRA health insurance coverage. Read more