Monday, January 19, 2015

Caterpillar cuts Milwaukee workforce. Again.

Caterpillar is laying off more mining and earth-moving equipment assembly workers in Milwaukee - - more fallout from a glut of metals and coal on the world market that is also making the proposed and controversial GTac iron ore mine in Northwest Wisconsin an unattractive investment.

But let's backtrack a bit.

I'd written about Caterpillar's rosy 2010 entrance into the Milwaukee labor market when it bought Bucyrus Erie, and Caterpillar was all smiles and assurances when the takeover was complete:

As we combine the proven strengths of each organization, we’re creating a unified team unlike any other in the mining industry.
But then came the payroll cuts - - a move called "crazy" and antithetical to the Bucyrus Erie ethic and history by its former CEO - - a change underscored also by Caterpillar's ruinous disrespect for the workforce, as Dom Noth documented in May, 2013:
Soon after Caterpillar took over Bucyrus in 2011, a worker was crushed to death by mining equipment not hooked up to safety specifics—the company's first workplace fatality in decades. Horrified co-workers couldn’t move fast enough to save Jeff Smith, 30, a popular fitness buff and musician in his spare time.
Workers at the plant realize that industrial accidents can happen at even the best-run plants, but they remember the cold response to Smith's death by the new Caterpillar management.  Caterpillar brought in lawyers who refused to allow USW's investigative team into the building, resulting in a federal complaint that the company ultimately lost. The new managers also left it to the USW to provide comfort and financial relief to the family in its grief. 
Then there was this follow-up story six months later:
Caterpillar cuts more jobs in Milwaukee area
Caterpillar Inc. has laid off another round of employees at its southeastern Wisconsin operations, a company spokeswoman told The Business Journal Monday.

The Peoria, Ill.-based equipment manufacturer (NYSE: CAT) is cutting “support and management” positions at multiple locations, the Herald & Review newspaper in Decatur, Ill., reported....
[Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel] Potts said the latest local layoffs are in addition to 260 production jobs cut in South Milwaukee during the summer.
Which brings us Journal Sentinel January 18, 2015 story  online:
Caterpillar Inc., which has its mining equipment division in Oak Creek, has cut hundreds of jobs at its factories that manufacture some of the world's biggest machines. 
More than half the company's blue-collar employees at the South Milwaukee plant, members of United Steelworkers Local 1433, are on layoff, said Ross Winklbauer, a Steelworkers subdistrict director. 
Last week, Caterpillar announced another 25 layoffs here, which Winklbauer says brings the number of people off work to roughly 450, or about 55% of the workforce. The additional 25 layoffs are scheduled to take effect beginning Monday, the company said.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

did you know caterpillar inc are seriously considered selling off its mining division Or Lowering Their Stakes On It