In the end, common sense prevailed. Cat increased its return to work "bonus" payment offer from $1000 to $3,100 and the membership ratified the company's return to work proposal.
But it was a close vote and hard feelings on the part of many will be the result. Let's hope this is all soon forgotten and that all parties can get on with their lives.
If the general history of U.S. labor relations is any guide, 95% or more of the employees will be happy to be back at work. In the other few cases where that's not the case, well, it's a free country. They can elect to take their skills and work elsewhere.
That way everybody can be a winner.
Caterpillar machinists in Joliet OK new contract has these highlights, or lowlights, as the case may be:
"Striking machinists Friday approved a contract with Caterpillar Inc.
after the heavy equipment maker increased a ratification bonus to $3,100
from $1,000 just before the vote.
The approval ends a
three-and-a-half month strike. Workers will be phased back in to work
beginning Monday, said Steve Jones, a union spokesman.
The transition should not take longer than two weeks, Jones said. He declined to comment further.
Some workers stampeded out of the union hall Friday morning, cursing
out loud at those those who approved the six-year contract.
"I wasted four months of my life," said John Hunt.
Workers said they were told not to give an official count of the vote, though they acknowledged it was close. . . .
"I can't believe they did this," said Vickey
Pogliano, as she brushed tears away with her hand. "I'm shocked. I know
there is a lot of people hurting but they didn't see the big picture." . . .
"We are pleased with the outcome of
the vote and certainly happy to have our employees coming back to
work," Tim Flaherty, general manager of advanced components systems
operations, said in a statement. "I think everyone involved is ready to
get this behind us, move on, move forward and do what we do best."
The company said the new agreement provides employees with a
competitive wage and benefits package, while further securing its
ability to serve global customer needs and maintain local economies.. . .
In reaching the latest proposal, union members said the negotiating
team sidestepped efforts by the local president for a proposed contract
without additional concessions. Workers were seeking cost-of-living
increases, lower health care premiums and maintenance of seniority
Robert Bruno, a professor of labor and employment
relations at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said the new
contract marks a new era in contract negotiations during an era when the
country is out of the recession but struggling to create jobs.
"Other companies now will follow suit," Bruno said."