Workers at Caterpillar have gone on strike as they try to negotiate a new union contract. Despite making record profits last year, and being on pace to break that record again this year, the company is insisting on a long pay freeze for all workers — but not the executives, of course.
Now, in what has become a test case in American labor relations, Caterpillar is trying to pioneer new territory, seeking steep concessions from its workers even when business is booming.
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…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.
The company made almost $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year. The CEO of the company, meanwhile, has gotten a huge 60% pay raise to nearly $17 million a year. Other top executives got similar raises. But of course, anyone who thinks the workers should be making more money — or even the same money — during times of record profit is clearly a communist engaged in class warfare.