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Fog of news, Caterpillar-style

Paul Gordon of the Peoria Journal Star pokes some holes in the notion that workers in the new Caterpillar engine plant in Seguin, Texas, will make $21 an hour, a number some local real estate type appears to have pulled out of thin air.

I researched the typical base wages for factory workers in Texas, the San Antonio area in particular.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the only production workers now making $21 an hour, or $44,000 a year, are supervisors – the bosses of those doing the assembly work.

Engine assemblers – which I expect many of these jobs would be – make an average of $16 an hour there, or about $33,270 a year. The BLS says there are currently only 540 engine assemblers in the San Antonio metropolitan area. Other assemblers make less.

Machinists – which likely will be among the jobs to be created at Seguin – make an average of $14.41 an hour, or just under $30,000 a year.

The average pay for all production workers in that area, the BLS says, is $12.79 an hour.

Cat flacks won’t say what they plan to pay. Gordon notes there’s at least a shred of likelihood that Cat is doing in private what it says in public: consolidating production in a single location mainly to improve efficiency.

For fun we should set up a pool to see who can guess how long it’ll take the folks responding to Paul’s post to blame everything on greedy corporate bean-counters or grasping union leaders.

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Tom Mangan posted at 12:24 am December 28th, 2008 |

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