CHICAGO May 20 Caterpillar Inc said
late on Monday that it would resume contract talks with the
union representing about 800 Milwaukee workers who make
specialized mining machinery.
The company said the two sides would reconvene on Thursday,
May 23, ending a two-week hiatus in discussions.
The existing contract covering the workers, who were
inherited with Caterpillar's 2010 purchase of Bucyrus and are
represented by the United Steelworkers Union, expired on April
The workers have rejected a proposed new contract offered by
the company that, among other things, would freeze wages for
existing workers and create a second, lower-tier wage level for
The Milwaukee workers, who make giant mining shovels and
draglines that dwarf much of the other heavy equipment
Caterpillar produces, have said they would continue to report
for work under the existing contract.
In April, Caterpillar said it was laying off more than 10
percent of the workforce at a Decatur, Illinois, plant that
makes mining equipment.
Caterpillar said the layoffs, which affected 460 workers,
were needed to "bring production in line with demand."
Several hundred workers in the Milwaukee unit also face
layoffs as a result of a decline in orders from mining
Caterpillar is the world's largest maker of mining
equipment. The Peoria, Illinois-based company also makes
construction equipment, gas turbines and diesel engines, as well
as railroad locomotives.