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Caterpillar union asks MATC to stop training potential replacement workers


MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A union at a Caterpillar plant near Milwaukee has asked the local technical school to stop training those who would replace union workers if they go on strike.

The mining equipment maker confirms it has placed 25 non-union welder candidates into a training program at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The United Steelworkers plan to open contract talks with Caterpillar next month – and the firm says training possible replacements is their standard procedure. But in a letter, the union has asked the school not to be, “used as a pawn in Caterpillar’s union-busting games.

The college says it has a contract with Caterpillar, and it’s part of MATC’s mission to be responsive to local employers. But the school’s union leaders don’t see it that way.

Economics professor Michael Rosen says Caterpillar is using his school and its training program as a “bargaining chip,” and he has every sympathy for the steelworkers.