Caterpillar Workers Ending Three-Month Strike

Agree to pay freeze, switch from pensions to 401(k) program.


Striking workers at a Caterpillar Inc. factory voted in favor of a new 6-year labor agreement, a move that ends a job action lasting more than three months, union officials said on Friday.

Leaders of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, representing 780 staff at the factory, had rejected the latest offer from the company. Workers went on strike May 1, refusing a proposal that would have frozen wages for workers hired before May 2005.

Friday's vote marks a win for Caterpillar, known as a hard negotiator, with a deal that freezes the hourly pay of veteran workers, ends the company's defined benefit pension plan, and shifts more of the burden of health care costs to employees.