Caterpillar moves to lock out CAW workers

Sun Jan 1, 2012 11:06pm EST
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(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc's Electro-Motive unit has decided to lock out locomotive manufacturing workers in London, Ontario, after finding out the Canadian Auto Workers told members not to strike following the breakdown of contract negotiations.

Electro-Motive said earlier on Sunday that it was unilaterally imposing changes in wage and benefit terms for its workers in Canada after talks broke down, and that workers were encouraged to show up for work.

But the company's stance changed after the CAW surprised the company on Sunday afternoon by not calling a strike and instead instructing workers to report for duty.

The company said it "is seeking the assurance of a prompt ratification of the company's last offer and has instituted a lock out at the London facility until a ratified contract is in place."

Caterpillar's Electro-Motive unit said the CAW's move to send members to work indicated the union approves of Caterpillar's new compensation terms.

"Given the union has indicated its members are willing to work under those terms, we are hopeful of a speedy ratification allowing union members to return to work," the company said.

CAW officials, however, see the situation differently.

Bob Orr, a top CAW official, said late Sunday that the union is not showing support for Caterpillar's Electro-Motive new contract terms.

"The ball is still in the company's court," he said.   Continued...

<p>A worker drives a Caterpillar tractor near a construction site in Gilbert, Arizona October 20, 2009. REUTERS/Joshua Lott</p>