Caterpillar contract vote expected Tuesday, April 30th

SOUTH MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Workers at Caterpillar are expected to vote on a contract proposal on Tuesday, April 30th -- the very same day the previous contract was set to expire.

Negotiations have been ongoing, and although they still remain at odds on some issues, the United Steel Workers Local Union 1343 has come to somewhat of a common ground with Caterpillar. However, a union spokesperson told FOX6 News the union is not endorsing the contract -- nor are they asking members to vote it down.

"We are leaving the decision up to our members," Ross Winklbauer with the United Steelworkers Union said.

Winklbauer represents close to 800 employees from the South Milwaukee Caterpillar factory and says bargaining has been tough.

"Caterpillar has a different way of doing things. They are very structured in their negotiations," Winklbauer said.

Winklbauer says the committee did its best in asking for a fair deal, but didn't release many details of the agreement.

"There`s all kinds of differences in the contract. There`s proposals that will be affecting positive and negative on retirees, on healthcare," Winklbauer said.

Winklbauer was tight-lipped about contract details, fearing employees may be influenced before Tuesday's vote. However, the company released its highlights of the proposed six-year agreement, which includes a $2,500 upfront ratification bonus for all employees for an agreement ratified on or before April 30th, and new security provisions.

"We presented the contract to the membership, opened the floor for questions, comments the whole nine yards," Winklbauer said.

The staff has from 6:00 a.m. Tuesday until 6:00 p.m. Tuesday to vote. If the contract is accepted, it is business as usual.

"If the contract is rejected employees will still be going to work (Tuesday) night and going to work Wednesday. The bargaining committee and myself will get together and look at the different options. Plus, we will be in conversations with the company and basically see if they are willing to sit down and start to meet again," Winklbauer said.

Some workers told FOX6 News on Monday they believe the contract will be a go.