Striking workers at a Caterpillar hydraulic parts factory in Joliet, Ill., voted today to ratify a proposed six-year contract, ending a nearly 16-week strike.
The 800 workers, members of Machinists (IAM) Local 851, will receive a $3,100 ratification bonus, well above the $1,000 Caterpillar initially offered. Workers hired after 2005 will receive an automatic 3 percent raise annually for the life of the contract.
In the deal, Caterpillar stepped back from its insistence that management could assign workers new jobs or new shifts indefinitely, outside of seniority. Under the deal that was voted on, workers could be assigned new jobs or shifts irrespective of seniority for a maximum of 90 days.
Despite making nearly $5 billion in profits last year and on course to earn even more this year, Caterpillar had demanded cuts in wages, health care and pensions—even as Caterpillar’s chief executive, Douglas Oberhelman, enjoyed a 60 percent pay increase in 2011, to $16.9 million.