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Food Drive for Caterpillar Workers on Strike

Why Caterpillar workers deserve our support.

Caterpillar workers on strike since May 1 at the Channahon plant are facing an intractable opponent in their quest for a fair labor contract. The 780 members of Lodge 851 of the International Association of Machinists are only asking for a  cost of living increase for each year of the new contract. Caterpillar, one of the most profitable heavy machinery manufacturing company in the world, froze wages in the last union contract, wants to freeze wages for six more years, increase the employees’ share of health care costs and weaken the seniority provisions in the current contract. Caterpillar has already instituted a two-tier wage system where wages for new hires are slightly above the poverty level for a family of four.

What is happening in Caterpillar’s Channahon plant is a microcosm of what has been happening to the middle class over the last thirty years. Stagnant wages, soaring health care costs, loss of pensions and other benefits, attacks on unions and the continuing outsourcing of jobs overseas are occurring at the very same time productivity per worker has soared and company profits are at record heights. Simply put, workers no longer are sharing in the benefits of their increased productivity.

A food drive to support Caterpillar workers will be held on Saturday, August 11 between 10am and 3pm in the parking lot of the Universalist Unitarian Church at 3401 W. Jefferson St. in Joliet, IL.

Food may also be dropped off for the duration of the strike Monday through Friday, 9am to 4:30pm at Teamsters Local 710, 9000 W. 187th St. Mokena, Il.

The food drive is sponsored by Friends of Cat Workers, South Suburban MoveOn Council, Universalist Unitarian Church and Teamsters Local 701.

Ron Kurowski

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Pat August 10, 2012 at 01:08 PM
There was a time and a place for unions a loooong time ago. Unions are no better than the upper management you all complain about. Have you looked at how much your Union management makes? Do you see them sharing their wealth??
sillyrabbittrix August 10, 2012 at 04:21 PM
@Pat: proof, please. Back up your statement with some facts on Union leaders making the kind of money upper management at these major corporations make.
RB August 10, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Just to clarify. I do not work for CAT but I understand their reasons. I also understand Ray's point about putting his family first ( truth to be told I would do the same). But ultimately if everybody were like me or Ray, labor right would be smashed so I respect what they are fighting for.
sillyrabbittrix August 10, 2012 at 06:50 PM
@ RB, I must admit, you have probably the most level-headed response here. Great comment. I was only able to speak myself out of anger and passion because I am different from the average American. I'm an activist and a fighter. I don't have children. I can afford, financially, emotionally, and priority-wise, to generally be able to fight against injustices. It is true that probably a lot of Americans feel they cannot because of their situations and personal priorities - e.g. family. I am lucky that if I were in that union, I could easily strike. I would have no children to worry about supporting. So, well said, RB. Not all of us have the freedom of choices that I have to be able to fight the good fight.
lala August 12, 2012 at 02:18 PM
What is the average starting pay per hour?

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