Amid booming business and record profits, Caterpillar is seeking major concessions from its workers. The company and the machinists' union in Joliet, Ill. have been deadlocked since June 27 and no further talks are scheduled.
Labor experts have billed this as a test case in American labor relations. What are the larger implications of this labor dispute?
"What's at risk is major: will this become the new normal?" said Bob Bruno, professor in the School of Labor & Employment Relations at the University of Illinois. "It had always been a principle of American prosperity that if you work hard, have a full time job, develop the skills... then you'll be comfortable."
Bruno will join The Daily Circuit to talk about the Caterpillar dispute and the bigger picture for labor relations. William P. Boehler, former director of labor relations for Arcelor Mittal USA, will also join the discussion.
"As a labor negotiator, you're dealing with management and the unions," he said. "You have to talk management down from their lofty ideals, but you also have to appease the workers. It's always walking a very fine line. You go through a lot of rhetoric, but you need people to feel like it's a fair deal."