Cat Vs. The Uaw: Setting The Record Straight

The article "This brawl could cost CAT a couple of its lives" (The Workplace, Mar. 23), about the United Auto Workers' strike against Caterpillar, neglected three crucial points:

-- To date, the UAW continues to insist on an outdated practice from the 1950s--pattern bargaining--that has killed more than a few U.S. industries.

-- We believe Caterpillar's final offerto the UAW to be an extremely fair one for our employees ($19 per hour, jobs guaranteed for six years, full health care and other benefits, and betterretirement).

-- While the article questions whether the cost of the strike is more than the potential benefit, the real question is whether Caterpillar should confront this issue now. To wait for the next contract--in 1994--does nothing more than make a bad situation worse.

As of today, Caterpillar has presented three offers to the Auto Workers, each more generous than the last. The UAW did nothing to respond for nearly five months.

As for management's resolve, I assure you that it is sufficient to stay the course and get a labor agreement that will allow us to remain globally competitive from our U.S. base.

G.S. Flaherty

Group President

Caterpillar Inc.

Peoria, Ill.

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