Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Caterpillar Waging Class Warfare

The New York Times covered the story of Caterpillar, with record profits, bonuses to all executives including an 11 million dollar bonus for their CEO is in the midst of a 12 week union strike.  Why are the 800 production workers striking?

Caterpillar is demanding a 6 year wage freeze, doubling the cost of health care premiums to workers and cuts to workers pensions.

Last year, Caterpillar made 4.6 billion in profit and is on track to break that record this year, making 1.5 billion in the first quarter.  But, instead of sharing the profits with workers, they want to punish workers with a huge effective pay cut.  America will not prosper when the benefits of hard work are shared by a few instead of a majority of citizens.   Where is  "we the people" when the corporation makes billions but demands its employees to cut their wages.  This is class warfare and Caterpillar has been waging it for 3 months against 800 middle class Americans.

Joseph McCartin, associate professor of history and director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University:

   If Caterpillar is able to put into effect its decision to lower the standards of its workers despite the company's profitability, it would mark the onset of a new and dangerous era in American labor relations. In past years, when Caterpillar and other corporations sought to lower the living standards of their workers, cited a lack of corporate profits. Now, it no longer matters whether companies are doing well or not. In good times and in bad their message is the same: they want to cut workers' benefits and income in order to increase profits. This is a dangerous and ultimately unsustainable course for this nation. All workers thus have an interest in fighting this move.
Earlier Wednesday, Caterpillar (CAT) raised its 2012 earnings forecast to $9.60 per share from a previous forecast of $9.50. That would be a record year for the industrial giant. Analysts were expecting a profit of $9.54 per share for 2012
Chairman and Chief Executive Douglas Oberhelman's total compensation jumped 60% in 2011 to $16.9 million, the company said in a securities filing Wednesday. 

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