UAW Members Vote To Accept National Pact
Undated (AP) _ Members of the United Auto Workers in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Colorado voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to ratify a national agreement with Caterpillar Inc.
Votes in one other state, Iowa, where 850 UAW members are eligible to vote, were still being counted.
The agreement, which won overwhelming endorsement of the union’s national bargaining team July 4, runs through Oct. 1, 1988. It is the first reached by Caterpillar and the union without a strike since 1976.
More than 11,000 UAW members in were eligible to cast votes, union officials said, but exact figures were not available Tuesday night.
The vote ran roughly 8-3 in favor of accepting the agreement, according to officials of the locals in Peoria, Ill., Decatur, Ill., Pontiac, Ill., Aurora, Ill., York, Pa., and Memphis, Tenn. Union officials in Colorado said the vote was overwhelming in favor of the contract.
Members of the Decatur local were still trying to resolve individual issues with Caterpillar.
Decatur union officials indefinitely recessed talks on local issues Monday but said they had not closed the door on a Caterpillar proposal to resolve the dispute.
The dispute over job classifications, overtime and other local issues, would not stop Local 751 members from voting on the national pact, union officials said Monday.
The other sizable holdout on local issues - Peoria Local 974 - reached a tentative agreement with company negotiators early Tuesday.
Local 974, with 9,100 working members and 6,000 laid-off workers at five Peoria-area plants, is the UAW’s largest Caterpillar local. Local 751, with 2,800 workers is the second largest.
The national agreement reportedly includes a boost in profit-sharing, from $24 or less annually for the average worker to as much as $400 annually in a year similar to the last profitable one.
It also shields 90 percent of the active work force from layoffs, according to a union official who asked not to be identified. Job security was named as the top priority by union officials.
About 13,000 Caterpillar workers are on active layoff status, meaning they have rights under the contract for recall, said national UAW spokesman Karl Mantyla from Detroit. Some of them worked at the Mentor, Ohio, plant, which closed last year.
A three-year contract with UAW expired June 1 but was extended to last week. Negotiators continued to meet after the extension expired at midnight Thursday.
The union had been negotiating with Caterpillar since early April on a contract to cover nearly 17,000 active and about 12,000 laid-off union members at plants in Illinois, Iowa and Pennsylvania and parts-distributio n centers in Colorado and Tennessee.