Cat Labor Strife Rare in an America in which Strikes Are Becoming Rare

NPR report looks at the Joliet machinists' strike and what's caused these workers to buck the trend and say "no."

From National Public Radio's 'All Things Considered'...

Whenever a car or truck turns off busy Channahon Road onto the long drive to the Caterpillar plant in , Ill., a handful of union workers on a picket line scream, "Scab! Scab!!"

As strikers try shaming the few workers and managers who cross the line, even a clearly marked sandwich delivery car gets shouted down.

Approximately 800 workers at this plant, which makes hydraulic systems for Caterpillar's heavy construction and mining equipment, are about to enter their third month on strike.

Negotiations Fail

These machinist union members rejected Caterpillar's offer earlier this year: a six-year contract that would freeze wages for most workers while sharply increasing health care costs and cutting pension benefits.

Joe Ahern, on the negotiating committee for the Joliet Local 851 of the International Association of Machinists, says Caterpillar's offer "really kinda was a sucker punch to me."

National Public Radio's All Things Considered show aired a segment on the ongoing machinists' strike at Joliet's Caterpillar plant. To read the rest of the story or listen to the broadcast version, click here.

To read more on the strike:

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