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CATERPILLAR WORKERS END STRIKE

About 3,300 United Auto Workers waged a short-lived strike against Caterpillar Inc. factories in Decatur and Aurora on Tuesday after the company suspended a shop steward's union privileges.

The strike was the latest in a series over local union grievances. UAW members at the earth-moving equipment company have been working without a contract for more than two years after an unsuccessful strike.

The latest walkout lasted just 19 hours. Union officials called it off after a meeting with the company. Caterpillar made no change in the disciplinary action against the union steward, a welder named Billy Keppler.

The strike began in Decatur at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday when about 400 third-shift employees walked out after Caterpillar suspended Keppler from his duties as union steward for 30 days, citing what it called "his continuing serious abuses of the grievance procedure."

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