I suspect Caterpillar is being watched by every CEO in America right now. Not content with earning a record profit in 2011 and expecting to earn a bigger profit this year, the company wants to force their employees to take a pay cut. From the New York Times:
Despite earning a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projecting even better results for 2012, the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory here. Caterpillar says it needs to keep its labor costs down to ensure its future competitiveness.So not only is the company not sharing the results of increased productivity with the workers, they expect these workers to take a lower wage. Trickle down has become beat down.
Caterpillar, which has significantly raised its executives’ compensation because of its strong profits, defended its demands, saying many unionized workers were paid well above market rates.So it's OK for those at the top to earn more money, but the workers get pay cuts? The company is trying to push the top wage down from $26 per hour ($55,000 per year) to the lower wage $12 to $19 per hour ($26,000 to $40,000 per year), force a six year pay freeze, and drive up the cost of the health care deduction. They want skilled laborers to work for unskilled pay.
The union has gone on strike. Caterpillar, though, has a history of closing plants and breaking unions, once going 17 months until the United Automobile Workers 9000 workers gave into concessions.
We have finally reached the vision had by the wealthy when Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers Union: A labor force that would be so dependent on the rich that they would have to accept any crumbs the wealthy dropped.
Until we can find a way to reverse this trend, wages will continue to go down, and the middle class will shrink.
From commenter tcdup:
Please send food or monetary assistance for the strikers at Caterpillar to: Local Lodge 851, 23157 S. Thomas Dillon Dr., Ste. B, Channahon, IL 60410UPDATE 2: A number of commenters have asked if we can send pizza for those on the picket lines. If anyone has any information, post it, and I will add it to the diary. This is a short term fix, though. Caterpillar isn't afraid to hold out for over a year in order to get what they want. Our support for the union has to be long term. How do we help the union members for the long haul?
Come on, kossacks. These people are fighting for all of us, just as the Wisconsin protestors fought for us all last year. Let's pitch in and help them so they can keep fighting against Caterpillar.
Send the picket line walkers pizza. Donate to their strike fund. Publicize this. It's as if it's happening in a vacuum.
For f's sake, they have local food banks listed on the union website. These people are hurting. Let's help them help us.
UPDATE 3: From commenter bkamr, a nearby pizza place:
Third Base (Pizza)
508 Moen Ave # 1, Rockdale, IL-60436 (815) 730-1330