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27 Lab. Stud. J. 77 (2002-2003)
The Caterpillar Labor Dispute and the UAW, 1991-1998

handle is hein.journals/labstuj27 and id is 435 raw text is: 






The Caterpillar Labor Dispute and the UAW,
                         1991-1998

                           Isaac Cohen*

Abstract
   The  United Auto  Workers (UAW)   and the Caterpillar Corpora-
   tion (Cat) engaged in one of the longest and most contentious
   labor disputes of the 1990s. This article analyzes the dispute, shows
   how  the UAW  retreated from two major strikes over the course of
   the decade, how the Cat workers displayed a great deal of militancy
   during the struggle, how the union fought the legal battle, and
   how  the Cat workers eventually achieved a contract.

Between  1991 and  1998, Caterpillar fought the United Auto Workers
(UAW)   in what was the most protracted U.S. labor dispute in the 1990s.
A  UAW   official described the relationship between Caterpillar and the
UAW as   the single most contentious ... in the history of the union
(Reingold, 1995: 72). A Bureau of Labor Statistics economist called the
dispute one of the most ... highly publicized labor-management conflicts
in recent years (Cimini, 1998: 4). Two contributors to the Journal of
Labor Research characterized the dispute as one of the longest and most
acrimonious ... in labor relations' history (Gangemi and Torres, 1996:
377). And, John C. Wells, director of the Federal Mediation and Concili-
ation Service (FMCS)  and chair of a three-person mediation team that
helped settle the dispute, dubbed it the labor dispute of the century
(Dine, 1998). Participating in more than 35 separate UAW-Caterpillar
negotiations, Wells reported that the Caterpillar dispute had been the
most difficult he had dealt with during his five year tenure at the FMCS
(Daily Labor Report, 1998a).
     The  outcome of the struggle has been widely viewed as a major de-
feat for the UAW because the union lost two separate strikes at Caterpil-


LABOR STUDIES JOURNAL, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Winter 2003): 77-99. Published for the United
Association for Labor Education by the West Virginia University Press, P.O. Box 6295,
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506. @ 2002, West Virginia University Press.


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