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Caterpillar: Bulldozing the American Dream

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rayfieldclement

Senior member
Apr 12, 2012
514
0
0
Do you have any evidence to indicate that they are paying their managers too much? Competitive pay means they pay at least the same amount in total compensation as other comparable employers for comparable jobs. If the workers think they are underpaid (as many in this thread seem to think they are), then they are free to go work somewhere else and get paid more. In fact they are likely way overpaid for the type of work they do compared to other people doing the same job in that area, and thus they have no viable alternatives at this point.
That was MY mistake. In the original post The executives are getting paid well (second paragraph)and the workers. I think the Original poster said that the company wants to cut the managers and workers pay but maybe all pay will get cut.
 

theevilsharpie

Platinum Member
Nov 2, 2009
2,323
14
81
Heh. "they are free to go work somewhere else and get paid more" sounds peachy, and is the usual right wing deflection.

You ignore the trend, the trend of America becoming one giant company town where workers are bound to their employers by debt. Not directly anymore, but indirectly by high overhead, underwater mortgages & very low/ negative net worth. It's kinda like telling galley slaves that they're free to go when there's no land in sight.
Nobody is forced to take on debt (medical debt excepted), and gaining a positive net worth is as simple as having an income greater than one's expenses, both of which can be adjusted as needed. Granted, someone stuck in poverty will have a difficult time growing their net worth for myriad reasons, but American factory workers are hardly impoverished, even in cases where the pay has been substantially reduced.

Only the fact that Union employees make a little more gives them the ability to get uppity, lead wages in an upward rather than downward direction.
Factory wages in the US have been trending downward and will continue to do so. Unions may be able to protect or even increase the wages of individual workers, but their gains come at the cost of overall employment (at least the employment covered by union representation). One only needs to view the sorry state of industrial centers such as Detroit to see that union labor is not immune to market readjustments.
 

Exterous

Super Moderator
Jun 20, 2006
19,270
2,092
126
Maybe you should you know... find some facts... data as some call it instead of making knee jerk reactions to other people's posts. I have.

http://www.aflcio.org/Corporate-Watch/CEO-Pay-and-the-99/Trends-in-CEO-Pay

Avg CEO total compensation in 2011 is $12.9M

http://www.usatoday.com/money/workplace/story/2012-03-28/ceo-pay-executive-compensation/53839786/1

Median CEO Pay is $9.6M

http://insiders.morningstar.com/trading/executive-compensation.action?t=CAT&region=USA&culture=en_US

CAT CEO total compensation for 2011 is $16.9M

According to the "market" he is 31% overpaid.... so if you're gonna cut wages of those on the bottom who are above market, then why shouldn't it apply to the CEO?

How do you know those line employees are overpaid? Oh I know!! They are using MARKET DATA!!! Guess what? According to Market data CEO of CAT is overpaid!
You could at least try to be fair about it and weight it to company worth. I would think company thats #47 on the fortune 500 list would pay a CEO a bit higher than average. I mean, christ - they are worth double the average on the fortune 500 ($55.71Bn vs $22.5Bn average) list so trying to compare their CEO pay with the average pay of CEOs across the country to say that his is 31% over paid is misleading at best
 

techs

Lifer
Sep 26, 2000
28,567
3
0
Is 20 dollars an hour enough money to live the "American Dream" which means buy a house, have 2.3 kids, send those kids to college, save money for retirement. While all the while providing health insurance?

I doubt it. And that includes a wife making the same amount. 80k is not the American dream.
 

momeNt

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2011
9,299
350
126
Is 20 dollars an hour enough money to live the "American Dream" which means buy a house, have 2.3 kids, send those kids to college, save money for retirement. While all the while providing health insurance?

I doubt it. And that includes a wife making the same amount. 80k is not the American dream.
Let's see how much we can redistribute the pie.

Total USA GDP ~14.5 trillion

USA workforce ~ 155mil.

$14,500,000,000,000 / 155,000,000 = $93,548.40

Most likely by the time everything finishes being redistributed, ultra expensive neighborhoods and pricey cities will be gone and 93K for a single earner is probably enough to qualify for the American dream.
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
12,321
2
0
Is 20 dollars an hour enough money to live the "American Dream" which means buy a house, have 2.3 kids, send those kids to college, save money for retirement. While all the while providing health insurance?

I doubt it. And that includes a wife making the same amount. 80k is not the American dream.
Husband and wife together making $80,000 can't make it? LOL, you are severely out of touch with reality. That's almost $30K over the average. Average US household income in 2012 was $51K
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
61,978
14,133
136
I wasn't aware that the employer is now responsible for how people spend their money and whether they incur debt or not. Somehow you also think the employer is responsible for underwater mortgages and low/negative net worth. Funny world view you got there. :D
Funny how you continue to avoid reality, how it was the concepts of the New Deal (mostly abandoned) that created the middle class- concepts like strong unions, truly progressive taxes, limits on wealth accumulation & accumulation rates, fair dealing in the realm of finance.

Something else often overlooked is that in a modern economy, what one spends is another's income, and vice-versa. Whenever workers take a beatdown, it affects the whole economy incrementally. When lots of workers get the beatdown over a 30 year span, we get what we have today.

Debt is optimism, faith in the future, faith in the integrity of one's employer & the relationship. 55% pay cuts, like Cat offered in Ontario, aren't exactly the kind of thing that inspires faith among other employees, and aren't the kind of thing that employees plan on when they take out a 30 year mortgage, either. That lack of faith exacerbates the deleveraging occurring, further debilitating the economy.
 

Jhhnn

No Lifer
Nov 11, 1999
61,978
14,133
136
Is 20 dollars an hour enough money to live the "American Dream" which means buy a house, have 2.3 kids, send those kids to college, save money for retirement. While all the while providing health insurance?

I doubt it. And that includes a wife making the same amount. 80k is not the American dream.
Husband and wife together making $80,000 can't make it? LOL, you are severely out of touch with reality. That's almost $30K over the average. Average US household income in 2012 was $51K
Techs is mostly right, depending on where one lives. He's right because of the modifiers- save for your own retirement, pay your own health insurance, pay for college for 2.3 children.

For people who have good employer benefits- solid health insurance packages, real retirement benefits, workmen's comp, so forth & so on, $80K combined income is doable.

Righties, of course, fail to recognize that income distribution has become extremely skewed over the last 30 years. Had the income distribution curve of 1980 been maintained, median families would be earning $70K or so... while enjoying much larger benefit packages, as well.

There is, of course, no price too great for America's richest to become even richer, is there?

It'll trickle down, right?
 

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,644
4,242
136
Once again we have Liberals trying their darndest to wage class warfare on the job creators. This is a recession. Hard times have hit job creators hardest of all. Now you would all make it worse? The upper class pays a larger and larger percentage of the over all tax burden every single year. Everyone elses responsibility of the tax burden decreases as their wages decrease. If anything, the job creators are doing these people a favor by effectively lowering their taxes.
 

Throckmorton

Lifer
Aug 23, 2007
16,833
1
0
Once again we have Liberals trying their darndest to wage class warfare on the job creators. This is a recession. Hard times have hit job creators hardest of all. Now you would all make it worse? The upper class pays a larger and larger percentage of the over all tax burden every single year. Everyone elses responsibility of the tax burden decreases as their wages decrease. If anything, the job creators are doing these people a favor by effectively lowering their taxes.
They pay a larger share of the tax burden because they keep getting a bigger piece of the pie while laying off the middle and lower classes and reducing their wages.


The "job creators" are holding our own hands and using them to hit us and saying "stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself".
 

gingermeggs

Golden Member
Dec 22, 2008
1,157
0
71
Very well put.

In fact, I would go so far as to say we are approaching the same problem we had in the 1930's during the Great Depression. We have the factories, we have the raw materials. What we don't have is a middle class with enough money to support actually making the goods because there is not enough demand due to so much of the money locked up in the hands of the wealthiest.

Most of your currency is numbers on the SX-
The government, needs to tax the shit out of any earnings from wall street, it's time that the gov got a bail out now...
 

gingermeggs

Golden Member
Dec 22, 2008
1,157
0
71
Once again we have Liberals trying their darndest to wage class warfare on the job creators. This is a recession. Hard times have hit job creators hardest of all. Now you would all make it worse? The upper class pays a larger and larger percentage of the over all tax burden every single year. Everyone elses responsibility of the tax burden decreases as their wages decrease. If anything, the job creators are doing these people a favor by effectively lowering their taxes.
If rich don't like it, why don't they hire an army to Coop the government and run the show themselves like the tyrant radicals they are.
...class war? go ahead make my day!
 

Paul98

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2010
3,699
138
106
Once again we have Liberals trying their darndest to wage class warfare on the job creators. This is a recession. Hard times have hit job creators hardest of all. Now you would all make it worse? The upper class pays a larger and larger percentage of the over all tax burden every single year. Everyone elses responsibility of the tax burden decreases as their wages decrease. If anything, the job creators are doing these people a favor by effectively lowering their taxes.
LMFAO, I am guessing this is sarcasm
 

shira

Diamond Member
Jan 12, 2005
9,574
5
81
You idiots seem to think caterpillar should have just done the same as detroit, just sit on their butts overpaying their workers, until they reach the point where they are no longer competitive and they're in a big mess and need a bailout.

It's a competitive market, the company is doing what it should to keep their expenses in check, just like the workers and their union try to increase their wages. Just because the company is making a profit doesn't mean it shouldn't do everything it can to maintain the competitive edge they have.

Caterpillar should just move their HQ out of illinois to a state with better leadership and do even better.
You have no imagination. American labor is far too expensive, and we have all of these pesky OSHA rules that add overhead costs.

Fvck worker safety. If workers want to be safe, they should get an office job. And Fvck government regulations. Every government regulation is another $10 billion in lost profits to shareholders.

Clearly, Caterpillar should move their operations to some cheap-labor country that has no worker protections, eliminate all of their domestic employees, and rake in even bigger profits.

I'm sure you approve.
 

theevilsharpie

Platinum Member
Nov 2, 2009
2,323
14
81
With respect to CAT's factory workers, CAT clearly believes their wage demands are above market rates, and are freezing them accordingly. Time will tell if their belief is correct, but given their past history and the current economy, I wouldn't bet on the workers.
And it's official: the workers lost.

JOLIET, Ill.—Striking workers at a Caterpillar Inc. factory here 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.

Workers will receive a sweetened, one-time ratification bonus to $3,100, up from $1,000 initially offered. Workers hired before May 2005 would receive no hourly pay increase; those hired after that date would receive a flat 3% pay increase.

[snip]

During the strike, Caterpillar continued to make hydraulic gear at the plant by using managers and temporary workers. More than 100 workers out of about 780 represented by the IAM had crossed the picket line as of early this week, Caterpillar and the union said.

Edit: The WSJ are being dicks and the article doesn't look like it's working. Here's one from the Chicago Tribune:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-joliet-workers-gather-to-vote-on-new-cat-contract-20120817,0,659208.story
 
Last edited:

michal1980

Diamond Member
Mar 7, 2003
8,019
43
91
Funny how you continue to avoid reality, how it was the concepts of the New Deal (mostly abandoned) that created the middle class- concepts like strong unions, truly progressive taxes, limits on wealth accumulation & accumulation rates, fair dealing in the realm of finance.

Something else often overlooked is that in a modern economy, what one spends is another's income, and vice-versa. Whenever workers take a beatdown, it affects the whole economy incrementally. When lots of workers get the beatdown over a 30 year span, we get what we have today.

Debt is optimism, faith in the future, faith in the integrity of one's employer & the relationship. 55% pay cuts, like Cat offered in Ontario, aren't exactly the kind of thing that inspires faith among other employees, and aren't the kind of thing that employees plan on when they take out a 30 year mortgage, either. That lack of faith exacerbates the deleveraging occurring, further debilitating the economy.
wrong. the period of time when 'easy' work = great salary was an anomoly in world history. WWII destoryed almost all of european and japanese production. Wheras the USA was fairly undamaged. while those places had to rebuild, we were able to be the worlds factory.
 

glenn1

Lifer
Sep 6, 2000
25,388
1,013
126
And it's official: the workers lost.

JOLIET, Ill.—Striking workers at a Caterpillar Inc. factory here 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.

Workers will receive a sweetened, one-time ratification bonus to $3,100, up from $1,000 initially offered. Workers hired before May 2005 would receive no hourly pay increase; those hired after that date would receive a flat 3% pay increase.

[snip]

During the strike, Caterpillar continued to make hydraulic gear at the plant by using managers and temporary workers. More than 100 workers out of about 780 represented by the IAM had crossed the picket line as of early this week, Caterpillar and the union said.

Edit: The WSJ are being dicks and the article doesn't look like it's working. Here's one from the Chicago Tribune:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-joliet-workers-gather-to-vote-on-new-cat-contract-20120817,0,659208.story
So the CAT labor union is now 0 for 3 over the last 20 years. They seem to be wising up though since they surrendered quicker than the last 2 times (3 months this time vs. 17 months in 1994 and 5 months in 1992).
 

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