After refusing a proposed pay decrease of almost 50 per cent, workers from Caterpillar’s locomotive plant in London, Ontario were locked out a few weeks ago and workers went on strike. Then when they did not accept pay cuts the plant was closed and they were fired. Under the agreement the company had offered, the salaries of some workers earning $35 an hour would have been lowered to $18 hourly.
During the strike they began running help-wanted ads had jobs for as low as $12/hour for new workers. According to the AFL-CIO, the CEO of Caterpillar, D.R. Oberhelman, earned $10,550,300 in 2010.
The workers had picketed the Electro-Motive plant to protest the pay cuts, denouncing corporate greed reported Linda Nguyen in the Ottawa Citizen. “Last week, Caterpillar — a Peoria, Illinois-based company — reported a 58 per cent jump in its fourth-quarter profits. The world’s largest heavy machinery maker reported a net income of $1.55 billion,” she wrote.
“They came in here and they squashed us,” Paul Bruder, who has worked as a quality assurance tester at the plant for 23 years told Nguyen. “They ran us over with their bulldozer. Our whole lives are turned upside down.”