As we reported yesterday, Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) machinists were to make a decision today regarding their new six year work contract. News just in confirms that the machinists have approved the contract through majority vote.

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Right before the vote, the company revealed to workers that it had increased its ratification bonus to $3100. This revelation also put to light the loss of three $700 reward payments, each traceable to a program linked with productivity.

Workers admit that the tally was incredibly close. Nonetheless, the workers were asked to withhold the official count of the vote.

Initially, the general outlook leaned towards a possible rejection. This was of course, after workers yesterday expressed their discomfort with the contract, after noting that it didn’t have major disparities with the one which was rejected earlier in May.

With that in mind, the approval today comes as a surprise to many. In fact, a section of workers stormed out of the union hall today in protest, cursing out at those who approved the contract. Some even regret going on strike and saw it as a waste of time. One man, John Hunt, is one of them. “I wasted four year of my life,” he lamented.

“I can’t believe they did this,” said Vickey Pogliano, amid tears, “I’m shocked. I know there are a lot of people hurting, but they didn’t see the big picture,” added a sad Vickey.

The approval of this contract buries close to four months of prolonged strife within Caterpillar’s workforce. In fact, a section of the company’s workforce had downed their tools, citing discontent with the prior work contract.

After the strike, what followed was a proposed work contract that was bitterly rejected a month later. The new contract that was voted in today exhibits some slight similarities to the earlier contract. Some workers even noted that it bears no major improvements to the older contract.

Workers at the Joliet plant will now resume normal operation, following the disruption caused by the strike.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT)’s contract issue has been under the keen eye of labor experts. These experts believe that this particular dispute had the ability to define contract negotiations in the contemporary corporate space. The experts believe that these contracts are importing to the country at such a time, when the need for creating jobs is paramount.

Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) has now left Boeing under the scrutiny of labor experts and union activists. As noted yesterday, Boeing is accused of using trickery among other tactful maneuvers in its contract negotiation.