Despite success, Caterpillar doesn’t want employees to have the benefits that many labor unions advocate for. Caterpillar has a global reputation because of its two-tier wages and higher-worker contributions for health insurance. Often companies follow Caterpillar’s lead as it proves that there are more and more ways to cut labor costs. But the workers at Caterpillar aren’t always the happiest about these labor costs that affect them personally.
Recently, Caterpillar announced that they are going to seek steep concessions from workers, even though business is booming. According to a report in The New York Times, the company brought in a whopping $4.9 billion in 2011, and projects even more impressive figures for 2012 at the end of the year. But the company is insisting that workers cooperate with a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze. This will affect about 780 workers at the production factory in Joliet, Illinois.
Caterpillar reasons that it wants to keep labor costs down so that it can ensure a competitive edge in the future. Some workers are striking because of the company’s decision. With picket signs in hand, the workers have been displaying their outrage. One 19-year-old Caterpillar employee said that when he was presented with the choice to work for less money or go on strike, he knew that the protest needed to happen. The plant that he and many others workers are employed at manufactures many of the parts for the Caterpillar tractors and earth moving machinery.
The company argues that workers are paid well-above market rates and believes that their behavior is erratic. In London, workers at the company were locked outside of the company and told to go home when labor unions rejected Caterpillar’s suggestion to cut wages by 55 percent. Caterpillar now wants to freeze the wages of top-tier workers. Most of these workers make about $55,000 per year without overtime. If you believe that your work benefits such as workers’ compensation, wages, and more are being infringed because of unreasonable company policies, talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer today!