PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today denounced Caterpillar Inc. CEO Douglas Oberhelman’s 32 percent compensation increase from $16.9 million in 2011 to $22.4 million in 2012 as shameful and unwarranted.
USW District 2 Director Michael Bolton said that rewarding Oberholman’s job performance by boosting his already lavish compensation by nearly one-third in 2012, despite lower than expected earnings, sends a dangerous message to other CEOs that lining their pockets at the expense of their workers is somehow acceptable.
“In 2012, Caterpillar Inc. put 700 people out of work by shutting down its Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, Ont. after locking out its workers when they rejected a 50 percent wage cut; then the company bullied almost 800 workers into major wage and benefit concessions after a three-month labor dispute in Joliet, Ill.,” Bolton said.
“In South Milwaukee, Caterpillar management threatened to lay off 40 percent of the plant less than a week before our negotiations started,” Bolton said, “and when we got to the table, the company proposed unnecessary, sweeping changes to our contract language and continues to demand unfair concessions in other major economic and non-economic areas.”
“There’s no secret to Caterpillar’s approach to labor relations,” Bolton said. “The company clearly is willing to hold jobs, families and entire communities hostage in its drive to bust unions, depress workers’ incomes and slash workers’ health insurance and other benefits so that Oberholman and other top executives can cash in.”
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
USW Local 1343 represents 803 Caterpillar workers in South Milwaukee, Wisconsin.