Union has reached tentative agreement with Caterpillar

SOUTH MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A spokesman with the United Steelworkers Union has confirmed to FOX6 News the union has reached a tentative agreement with Caterpillar. This, after the company has said layoffs may be coming.

Members of Local 1343 met with their negotiating committee on Sunday, April 28th. A ratification vote is planned for Tuesday.

Tom Torgersen has worked at Caterpillar for 45 years. Because of his seniority, Torgersen doesn't think he will be laid off, but he said younger workers are worried.

"It's not a pretty picture. It's people's livelihood. They don't know what the future's gonna hold," Torgersen said.

Jake Cychosz has been at the plant, formerly owned by Bucyrus for almost 18 years. He thinks his job is safe, but agrees morale isn't good.

"The younger guys that have been here less than four-five years, I would imagine you would be -- got families and things to pay for. I'd be concerned," Cychosz said.

One employee told FOX6 News the company already reduced his hours last month to 32 -- so many of the employees are concerned about hours and wages being cut.

Union leaders met with some workers on April 9th -- saying they were still in negotiations with the company and no details could be reported.

Caterpillar has said the layoffs will be temporary, but some workers speculated the layoffs were actually meant to intimidate the employees during these contract talks.

There is likely no way for them to avoid the layoffs, but everyone is worried about what the future holds as far as a possible wage freeze or cuts in benefits. Right now, they cannot say for sure.

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