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Wages, promises from Caterpillar don't add up

Aug. 31, 2012 at 3:31 a.m.


Editor, the Advocate:

The opening of the Caterpillar plant in Victoria is now a reality and will benefit our area. In recent years, American corporations have been moving the higher paying manufacturing jobs back home from overseas as foreign labor costs have risen and labor union influence has declined.

As the manufacturing facility was nearing completion, the call for employment opportunities went out to the community to fill the many positions needed. Now, the time had come for the citizens of Victoria to share in the promise of a brighter future. It was at this time that I began to hear of the wage scales being offered. When I heard the $9 to $12 wage scale range, I quite frankly didn't believe these to be the manufacturing jobs. I thought they must be lower skilled positions.

Putting a pencil to those wage scale ranges, I came up with approximate take-home pay after taxes and other deductions of $14,000 to $19,000 a year. That doesn't take into account any benefits such as medical and dental insurance and retirement packages. If the wages offered are for the actual manufacturing positions, it doesn't compute into the higher pay range. At that wage, it would be difficult for a single individual to sustain a comfortable standard of living, much less for someone supporting a family.

In reading the Advocate's article on the Caterpillar grand opening, it was apparent that all our local and state leaders were singing the praises of this event with the word marriage used to describe this union. There was no mention of the benefit of higher wages for the working man and woman. That has me troubled.

Mike Laza, Victoria

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