Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Caterpillar continues Milwaukee jobs excavation

Caterpillar Inc. is again cutting or moving more jobs and payroll out of the Milwaukee area, perhaps outsourcing to Arizona what remains of the venerable and iconic Bucycus presence it took over a few years ago in a combination company officials touted in 2010 as "a unified team unlike any other in the mining industry"" 
Caterpillar Inc. said Tuesday it is moving engineering and technology jobs from its mining equipment headquarters in South Milwaukee to Tucson, Ariz...The company's mining machine division consists largely of the former South Milwaukee-based Bucyrus International that Caterpillar acquired for $8.8 billion in 2011.
Like so many mergers and takeovers, the real story after the hoopla is over and the golden parachutes and champagne bottles are popped open is the predictable downsizing that strips employees of their paychecks and communities of institutional memory, leadership, energy. and optimism

So let's review what was published on this blog in January, 2015:

Caterpillar is laying off more mining and earth-moving equipment assembly workers in Milwaukee...

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 to this Journal Sentinel January 18, 2015 story online:
No bottom in sight for mining equipment companies, workers
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.
Your "unified team unlike any other in the mining industry" at work.


Unknown said...

I really liked this article and other articles you've authored.

Would you be OK if I shared one of your articles with the WriterBeat.com community? I can provide more information about Writer Beat or answer any question, but better than anything I can say in words, please take a look at the site.

If yes, just give me an "OK" and I'll handle the rest (there is no fee).


James Rowen said...

You can post a link and a summary or a lede paragraph. Thanks for asking.

Jake formerly of the LP said...

But, but....right-to-work will save jobs in Wisconsin!!! #fools

Anonymous said...

Where's Walker the great job creator and where's WEDC the great job savers for Wisconsin! Lord knows if someone creates just one new job....Walker is announcing for the headlines" ITS WORKING!" But when jobs leave he becomes Sargent Schultz: ' I KNOW NOTHING!"

Anonymous said...

I love Tim Sullivan's bluster about the evisceration of Bucyrus, and how it is because of the lack of concern about mining in Wisconsin, as we are not acceding to Walker's mining schemes.

Tim, you cashed out for the money, as a couple of board members mentioned to me at the time. Bucyrus may have been able to maintain its independence. You knew the history of Caterpillar killing its conquered properties.