Contract expires at Midnight

Caterpillar's Joliet plant employees walk off the job

By WEEK Producer

April 30, 2012 Updated May 1, 2012 at 9:27 AM CDT

Update: According to the Chicago Tribune, members of the International Association of Machinsts and Aerospace Workers walked off the job at 12:01 Tuesday morning, after rejecting a six-year contract. Approximately 50 workers protested outside the plant. 

JOLIET, Ill. -- Caterpillar and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers are at odds.

The Union plans a work stoppage at the company's Joliet plant at midnight when their contract expires.

The Union's website had the following statement:

"The General Committee met with management today to discuss resolving our contractual issues.  The company maintains its last proposal.  The Union has notified the company that we are willing to meet at any time.  Strike lines will commence at midnight tonight.  No further meetings are scheduled."

Caterpillar responded this afternoon with this statement:

"The union has advised the company that its members will undertake a work stoppage at the Joliet facility commencing at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, May 1. While we hope there isn't a work stoppage, the Company is prepared if one does occur and the Joliet facility will continue to serve its customers without interruption. We are going to continue to run our business as normal, meet production levels and provide uninterrupted service to our customers. Caterpillar has work plans, processes, policies and people ready to be deployed in the event of any business interruption, whether it is a tornado, fire or a labor strike. Our principal mission is to serve our customers under any circumstances and deliver on our commitments."

The two sides have been negotiating for about a month on a new agreement.   The IAW represents about 800 employees at the Caterpillar Joliet facility.