In the end, the United Auto Workers could not find much to boast about except survival.

After 6 1/2 years of fighting Caterpillar Inc., the union accepted a contract with the equipment maker that raises wages up to 4 percent, promises job security and improves retirement benefits.But it also accepted lower wages for new workers, limits on overtime pay, more use of temporary workers and the dismissal of some 400 federal labor charges against the company.