Caterpillar’s Doug Oberhelman: Manufacturing’s Mouthpiece

Portrait of an American company with billions in profits, and questions about how much it should be sharing that wealth with its own workforce:

“Oberhelman’s activism has also made him a target of criticism from those who say Caterpillar is thriving at its workers’ expense. Last year, as the company racked up a record $66 billion in sales, generating $5.7 billion in profits, it repeatedly landed in the news for clashing with production employees. In January 2012, Caterpillar locked out union workers at a locomotive factory in Ontario after they rejected a pay cut of about 50 percent; the company shuttered the plant and moved production to Muncie, Ind., where workers accepted lower wages. Last May, Caterpillar took a hard line during negotiations with employees at its Joliet (Ill.) hydraulic-parts factory, insisting on cuts to health care and other benefits. After striking for three months, employees caved at the end of the summer. Senior workers’ wages were frozen for six years. Caterpillar is currently battling union workers at its Milwaukee plant.”

Author: Mina Kimes
Source: Businessweek
Published: May 21, 2013
Length: 11 minutes (2,909 words)
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