Caterpillar negotiations to resume

Caterpillar Inc. and the United Steelworkers Local 1343 will resume labor negotiations for its South Milwaukee plant on Thursday morning.

The agreement to meet has been posted on the company’s negotiations website.

The union, which represents about 800 workers at the South Milwaukee facility, voted to reject a six-year labor proposal from the company on April 30. The proposed contract would have frozen wages for its duration and eliminated some seniority protections during temporary layoffs.

Negotiations stalled on May 8 when the union’s proposed counter offers did not gain any traction and no further meetings were scheduled.

Ross Winklbauer, United Steelworkers District 4 director, called the company and asked to meet again this week.

“We had met like a week after the vote last time and obviously whether they’ll admit it or not I think they were rather upset that the vote did not go through,” Winklbauer said. “The talks broke off so me and the committee decided that we would wait a little bit, which we did.”

Nothing significant has changed, but the union will make some modifications to its proposals to work toward a contract, he said.

“Our job is to get the best we can get for our membership,” Winklbauer said. “Our membership asked us to go back by their vote, which we did, and now we’re doing what we can do to get changes that our members will find acceptable and get a contract here.”

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