Caterpillar and its Employees at Loggerheads Over Health Costs

August 17, 2004
Employees at Caterpillar and company negotiators are butting heads over the manufacturer’s proposal to shift some health costs to employees. Employees say they’re "being asked to concede too much considering Caterpillar's record profits the last two quarters," according to the Associated Press.

Caterpillar has posted a "healthcare fact sheet" on its Web site comparing its offer to the benefits employees receive at other companies. Caterpillar also has information online describing its offers to various subsets of its workforce—such as logistics employees or new-hire manufacturing employees.

Caterpillar employees, backed by the UAW, say that they understand that benefits costs are rising, but that retirees particularly would be hit too hard under the company’s offer. "I don't think we should have to pay," retiree Mike Sprecher told the Associated Press. "Those are the terms we retired under and the company's still doing well." Employees also say that a proposal to pay new hires less than veterans would create conflict at the plants.

A list of Caterpillar’s values, and a description of what it means to be a leader at the company are also available online. More information on the battle over benefits and about a union fight at Cintas are also available