Right before CONEXPO 2023, Caterpillar workers unanimously agreed on a six year contract with the equipment manufacturer. Negotiations for this contract started in January, and have come to a tentative close to avoid a labor strike.
What's in this contract?
The new contract covers 7,000 workers, between the Central Illinois plants and the parts distribution center in York, Pennslyvania. The contract had a bundle of benefits to help the union workers make a bundle in the coming years.
- $6,000 ratification bonus
- 19% increase in pay
- 8% worth of lump-sum payments
- Larger night-shift premiums
- A nice bump in employer contributions to retirement plans
The 19% pay increase is not all at once, but over the next five years. 7% gets handed out immediately, and then 4% will be dished out in March of 2025, 2027, and 2028. Workers will also get 4% lump-sum payments in March of next year, and 2026.
Along with these nice monetary bonuses, CAT also gave out some job security. The company agreed not to shut down any union-represented plants for the life of the contract. This came after CAT closed their Aurora, Illinois plant in 2017 and moving production to other facilities and laying off hundreds of employees.
No Strikes Please
This agreement comes a bit after the manufacturer of CASW and New Holland equipment, CNH Industrial, ended a nine-month strike with it's workers. Caterpillar wanted to close the deal as quickly as possible so that they could avoid a strike. The CNH contract gave workers wage increases, shift premium increases, classification upgrades, along with other improvements. John Deere had a short, five-week strike in 2021, that ended with much of the same. Deere ended up giving their employees improved retirement benefits, as well as 10% raises.
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