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Union workers approved contract with Caterpillar

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - Union workers have approved a new six-year contract at the Caterpillar mining equipment plant in South Milwaukee.

It’s the first contract since Caterpillar acquired the plant in 2010 from the former Bucyrus International.

It freezes wages and pension payments – but it includes a $4,000 signing bonus, plus annual bonuses based on the company’s performance. The workers could get up to $18,000 during the life of the contract.

The deal also includes shorter temporary layoffs.

Local 1343 of the United Steelworkers union had rejected a similar contract in April. Union officials said Tuesday’s vote was very close, but they did not release the final results.

They said about 95 percent of the 800 eligible workers voted. Caterpillar calls it a “fair, reasonable, and comprehensive agreement.”