Caterpillar layoffs of 260 employees begin Monday

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Approximately 260 Caterpillar employees and union members will find themselves out of work for an indefinite period of time, starting Monday, June 24th due to a decrease in demand for mining equipment.

The layoffs come just days after a new labor contract was approved.

The layoffs were announced in March and scheduled for sometime in June, and the company told workers on Friday, June 14th, the exact date of the layoffs would begin 10 days later, on June 24th.

Based in Peoria, Illinois, Caterpillar Inc. is primarily known for manufacturing machines and construction equipment. Its global mining headquarters is located in Oak Creek and also operates a large plant in South Milwaukee and a smaller factory in Milwaukee's neighborhood of Bay View.

United Steelworkers Local 1343, which represents 800 Caterpillar union workers in South Milwaukee, originally said the downsizing would be temporary. However, on June 14th, Caterpillar said the layoffs would subsist for an unknown period of time.

The company released this prepared statement to the Milwaukee Business Journal on Friday:

“Some cost reduction measures have already been implemented in South Milwaukee and Oak Creek, such as previously announced indefinite and temporary layoffs of up to four weeks for other support and management employees, reduced hours for production employees, travel restrictions and controlled hiring. We know this is difficult for our employees and their families, and the company will do what it can to ensure impacted employees have support during this time. Ultimately, with lower orders from mining customers, we must take steps to bring production in line with demand.”