What has obviously happened is that after striking a deal at the regional level, some local malcontents led by the local union chief are trying to kill the deal. If their attempt is successful, lots of people who want to work won't go back to work.
On the other hand, some will.
But those who do will have to cross picket lines and be called scabs and so forth. Perhaps even threatened, if not physically harmed.
But isn't this America, a free country with free people? So here's what I say.
Let the people who don't want to return to work, by all means, relinquish their jobs and go somewhere else, assuming they can and wish to do so. Nobody should be asked to work at Cat or anywhere else against his or her free will.
And let those others who want to return to work, provide for their families and protect their jobs, go back to their jobs without suffering threats or other intimidating tactics and coercion from the local union led by a person named Tim O'Brien.
In other words, let Tim O'Brien quit, as is his right, and let other INDIVIDUALS decide for themselves, too. Fair enough? I think so. And here's why.
Because Mr. O'Brien is going to do great harm to a lot of good people if his irrational emotional appeals to 'solidarity' carry the day.
The regional union leaders and the company have reached an agreement. In fact, the regional head of the union has indicated that no more 'sweeteners' will be forthcoming from the company, and that this is as good a deal as the employees will get.
Tentative Pact Reached in Strike at Caterpillar has the update on the union's internal dissension about the strike settlement:
"Caterpillar and the International Association of Machinists said on Wednesday that they had reached a tentative six-year settlement that could end a 15-week strike at the company’s hydraulics parts plant in Joliet, Ill.
But the settlement may face difficulties in the ratification vote on Friday. Top officials in the striking local — upset that the deal contained nearly all the far-reaching concessions Caterpillar had sought — said they would urge members to reject the deal, which was negotiated not by the local but at the district level.
The dispute — which involved a company known for setting an example for corporate America in its tough bargaining and a union known for resisting givebacks — has become a test case in American labor relations. . . .
Tim O’Brien, president of Machinists Lodge Local Lodge 851, with about 700 members on strike, said the local’s bargaining committee would urge members to vote against the deal on the grounds that it contained steep concessions even when Caterpillar was making record profits. . . .
Mr. O’Brien and many of his local’s members have repeatedly voiced unhappiness about Caterpillar’s insistence on a six-year wage freeze for the more senior tier, a pension freeze for those workers and a significant increase in the workers’ contributions to health insurance coverage.
“I’m not for this deal,” Mr. O’Brien said. “I haven’t been out on the picket line, doing all these things, so that I now have to put my tail between my legs and say I’m giving up.”
Steve Jones, the top official in Machinists District 8 in Burr Ridge, Ill., and the union leader who reached the deal with Caterpillar, defended the settlement’s terms.
“It does not address every issue for every member, but it deserves to be brought to the membership for a vote,” he said in an interview, noting that many members were under financial strain after nearly four months on strike.
“It shouldn’t be individual leaders, a committee or the district who decide. We should allow the membership to voice their views.”
Mr. Jones added: “We’ve got some local people playing politics with people’s livelihoods. If there was a better agreement out there to be had, we would have taken it.”
But Mr. O’Brien said the parent union was giving up too easily and was feeling stretched from paying about $100,000 each week in strike benefits."
If Mr. O'Brien and his cohorts want to resign, so be it. My guess is that would quite ok with most of his fellow employees, Cat and the union.
If others decide to listen to Mr. Jones about the company's offer being as good as it is going to get, then make up their own minds and elect to go back to work in Joliet and provide for their families, why do they have to vote with the majority to be able to do so?
I thought this was a free country where freedom of choice prevailed. Free speech, too, to be certain, but not the right to keep those from working who choose to do so and where there's work available for them to do and a job to be done.
The tyrrany of the majority is alive and well in unions. And union intimidation is very real.
Whatever happened to our individual God given natural rights as described in our American Declaration of Independence to make our own way in life?
Among those individual rights are "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Remember those, Mr. O'Brien? What about the individual's right to choose to accept work, too?