Caterpillar Sues for Replacement Workers

Thu July 31, 2003 - Midwest Edition

PEORIA, IL, (United Press International) Caterpillar is suing to strike down an Illinois law forbidding the use of strike replacement workers.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, in Peoria, IL, the earth-moving machinery manufacturer asked a judge to bar the state from enforcing the Employment of Strikebreakers Act.

The 30-year-old act was changed when Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed an amendment last week that prevents companies from using temporary replacements for strikers.

It was Caterpillar’s ability to use replacement workers that enabled the company to continue working, and make record profits, during the six and a half year labor dispute of the 1990s.

The lawsuit contends the ESA violates Caterpillar’s 14th Amendment right of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, the Peoria Journal Star reported.

Caterpillar said the state law violates the national labor act by not allowing the company to hire replacement workers in the event of a lockout or a strike, something the NLRA allows.