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Peoria Journal Star: Caterpillar CEO will promise to rehire laid-off workers if stimulus passes

Paul Gordon of the Journal Star notched a scoop this morning: a source is saying Caterpillar CEO Jim Owens will promise at tomorrow’s Obama visit in East Peoria that recently laid-off workers could be rehired if a federal stimulus act passes.

Owens, who will fly into Peoria on Air Force One with the president on Thursday afternoon, will encourage passage of a “significant stimulus package” in the United States and will offer his and Caterpilar’s encouragement for other stimulus packages being considered around the world, said a source familiar with the plans for Obama’s visit to Peoria on Thursday.

Owens, the source said, in his discussions with Obama and his public comments during the visit, will “emphasize that these economic stimulus packages are a critical step toward global economic recovery.”

If the packages are adopted and enacted quickly, it would give Caterpillar the opportunity to begin recalling those employees who have already been laid off since early December and like stave off planned near-term layoffs.

Before we launch the chorus of glory hallelujahs, however, we must keep a couple things in mind:

  • Cat has not changed its mind about the plants in North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Sequin, Texas. Jobs eliminated because they’re moving to these locales will most likely stay gone.
  • The stimulus package could spike demand for construction and power equipment, but demand for mining machinery would be farther down the road. Cat people in construction and finance could benefit sooner.

I’m still in wait-and-see mode on what gets said at Thursday’s visit. Cat is letting people go because demand is way off and it’s pointless to build machinery and let it stack up in a lot somewhere. Many of the people laid off would get rehired when the economy turns around; the stimulus package simply hurries things up a bit (potentially).

Honest question: how reliable is Gordon’s source? Well, given Cat’s Fort Knox mentality about guarding company information (and carefully telling only what it wants known), it’s safe to assume this was an approved leak. I can’t imagine anybody talking to the press without authorization when the company’s looking for reasons to reduce expenses.

7 comments | Permalink | Tags:
Tom Mangan posted at 11:27 am February 11th, 2009 |

7 Responses to 'Peoria Journal Star: Caterpillar CEO will promise to rehire laid-off workers if stimulus passes'

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  1. Me says:

    Gordon’s source is Cat’s spokesman. I’m not throwing mud either…

    Permalink | Posted February 11th, 2009, at 2:09 pm
  2. Tom Mangan says:

    That would be the most logical “source,” now that you mention it.

    Permalink | Posted February 11th, 2009, at 2:14 pm
  3. Me says:

    I could prove it too. 🙂

    Permalink | Posted February 13th, 2009, at 8:34 am
  4. employee says:

    it was on the cat@work website, signed Owens…
    its gone today

    Permalink | Posted February 13th, 2009, at 10:24 am
  5. Tom Mangan says:

    Hmm, that is interesting. Guess the boss wasn’t supposed to spill the beans till sometime down the road.

    Permalink | Posted February 13th, 2009, at 10:39 am
  6. 751 says:

    Owens also stated that he would have to lay more people off before calling them back.. First round starts in April. The 13th i do believe. And if it dont pick up then we will be looking for another lay off in June. March there is a shutdown. And word on the plant floor is that after the shutdown in march, when most of us come back, they will lay the people off. Not sure exactly how correct the information is, but so far we have been pretty exact with the info. No clue. Find out anything else just speak up.

    Permalink | Posted February 23rd, 2009, at 12:04 am
  7. an employee says:

    Damn! I thought they wanted to get it all done in the first quarter. This is making me crazy. I wrote to my vp last week, and all I got was “we don’t know if/when more cuts or pay redections will happen”

    Permalink | Posted February 23rd, 2009, at 7:53 am

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