Caterpillar and striking workers reach employment agreement

Owners of businesses of all sizes are likely aware of the importance contracts play in the life of a business. This is true not only for Chicago companies but those located throughout the entire United States. Contracts arise in a wide variety of contexts including:

  • Employment contracts of all kinds
  • Non-competition agreements
  • Real estate contracts, including leases

Recently one of the larger companies to call the state of Illinois home encountered contract issues with its workers. A strike began on May 1, and ended just this week. The disputed contract that caused many of the 780 union workers to strike was between Caterpillar located in Joliet, Illinois, and its employees who are part of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace workers.

Employees were reluctant to approve the contract because of several concessions the unionized employees were asked to make allegedly so that the thriving business could "get its costs back in line with market wages." Those concessions included the freeze in wages of a majority of the workers for six years, the freeze in some pensions and higher employee contributions toward health care insurance.

The business made several concessions to its original proposal as well. There is a limit on how long a period of time a worker can be assigned to a new job or shift. In addition the agreed upon ratification bonus of $3,100 is more than the most previous offer of $1,000.

Overall the final contract is deemed by experts in the field to be to the benefit of the company.

Source: Supply Chain Digest, "Supply Chain News: Bitter Strike at Caterpillar in Joliet Finally Ends," Aug. 22, 2012

Our firm handles similar situations to the one discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Illinois contract dispute page.

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