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Archive for the ‘Layoffs’ tag

Caterpillar layoffs: what I know

I get a ton of Google hits from folks desperate for information about when and where Caterpillar’s next paycheck punch is coming from. It’s heartbreaking to have to tell folks hey, I know what’s available already online, and it ain’t much.

Caterpillar’s earnings announcement did not say where the cuts would happen. It’s about 10 percent of the global workforce (not 20 as some said yesterday, because 8,000 were contractors who were not counted in the official total.)

Demand for Cat machines is down across the board. The most notable order backlog is in big mining trucks, but commodity prices aside from gold and coal are too cheap to encourage much exploration that inspires buying new equipment.

Here’s the full description of Caterpillar’s employee-related cost-reduction plans for 2009 (sorry for the repetition if you saw some of it yesterday.)

  • Voluntary and involuntary separations and layoffs of about 4,000 full-time production employees. Depending on business conditions more layoffs may be required as the year unfolds.
  • Sharp declines in overtime work. Factory overtime is a key element of volume flexibility and many facilities were working high levels of overtime through most of 2008.
  • Several facilities have shortened workweeks, and thousands of employees have been, or will be, affected by temporary layoffs and full and partial plant shutdowns.
  • Elimination of almost 8,000 temporary, contract and agency workers. While these workers are a key element of our “flexible workforce” they are not included among the 112,887 full-time employees at year end.
  • Voluntary separations of about 2,500 support and management employees.
  • Additional layoffs or separations of as many as 5,000 support and management employees.
  • Hiring freezes and suspension of salary increases for most support and management employees.
  • Significant reductions in total compensation for executives / senior managers.

Also, here’s a post on what to do about health benefits if you end up out of work. Also: Six things to do before you get laid off.

My hunch is Cat figures good times’ll return in 2010 and it doesn’t want to have to rehire all the people it recently fired. I would expect far more days-and-hours reductions and temporary plant closings than permanent pink slips.

If you know anything more about Cat layoffs, please share in the comments.

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Tom Mangan posted at 8:08 am January 27th, 2009 |

Caterpillar layoffs: what today’s earnings report tells us

Caterpillar Inc. reported this morning that it expects to have its workforce reduction — you know, firings and such — complete by the end of the first quarter of 2009. The total adds up to 20,000, but 8,000 of those are contract/agency employees who, as far as we know, have mostly been let go already.

Adding in 2,500 voluntary separations (buyouts, etc.) cuts the 20k figure in half, but the report clearly states that says 4,000 full-time production employees will have been let go by the end of March, as will 5,000 support and management employees. And any more the economy dictates.

Further good news: Overtime is being slashed and hours are being cut, so even those who keep their jobs may end up pinching pennies this year.

Sadly, the report does not say where the cuts will happen. I’ve heard of layoffs in Aurora, Illinois, and Lafayette, Indiana, in the past couple days.

If you’re hearing about any where you work, let us know in the comments.

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Tom Mangan posted at 6:31 am January 26th, 2009 |

WEEK: Mossville’s Caterpillar Workers want answers

The Peoria TV station says UAW Local 974 is skeptical of claims that the economy is the driver behind the 800 layoffs announced last month at the Mossville, Illinois, engine plant.

UAW Local 974 president Rick Doty says the layoffs will not only impact those working the lines.

“People in the community of Peoria and surrounding areas ought to be up in arms about it because it impacts not only the 814 people it impacts the entire community”, said Doty.
But the more than 800 workers are still shrugging their shoulders.

The Mossville engine plant will be shut down, while Caterpillar recently announced a new Engine Plant to
be constructed in Texas.

I feel for anybody who felt there’d be a future working in a factory — I’d like to think it’s tough love for the company to tell folks essentially “find a better line of work, it’s for your own good.” But it’s just business.

Not much consolation I can offer to those about to be out of work; I can say that things worked out much better for me after I got laid off from my one and only factory job, but I had good luck and family intervention on my side.

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Tom Mangan posted at 12:32 am January 12th, 2009 |

Huge construction industry job cuts expected

Up to a third of U.S. construction jobs may vanish this year, Associated Press reports.

About two-thirds of the nation’s nonresidential construction companies plan layoffs this year, with most expecting declines in business next year, according to estimates by the Associated General Contractors of America, which represents about 33,000 companies. About 4.1 million people are employed in the industry, meaning about 1.25 million jobs could be lost if the dire forecast come true.

But the group also estimated that a stimulus plan that included broad spending on state and federal public works and infrastructure projects could reverse the decline for construction companies. The overall construction work force could grow by up to 25 percent, according to the forecast.

Non-residential means business and government. Businesses are having a hard time scaring up financing, and local governments are running deficits from here to breakfast because of declining sales and property tax revenue.

I know a lot of people are fretting over the huge deficits Obama is about to run up, but in the face of news like this, it seems preferable to doing throwing up our hands and hoping for the best.

More on this: Government officials’ forecasts on construction spending.

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Tom Mangan posted at 8:31 am January 9th, 2009 |

Laid off? What to do about health coverage

Even if you’ve still got a job, this is good to know.

If you think you might be one of them, know this: You’re almost certain to lose your employer-sponsored benefits with your full-time job. That’s why you need an action plan, stat. Make sure you know your health-insurance rights and options, because once you get that pink slip you have no time to lose tells what to do from the first hour through the next two months. One key detail not to be overlooked when you’re getting your kiss-off exit interview:

Don’t leave without asking for a certificate of creditable coverage. This document includes the dates that your health insurance began and ended, and proves that you were covered during that time. You’ll need this to apply to other health-insurance plans.

After a week:

Plan to spend down your flexible spending account (FSA), if you have one, on new glasses, cold medicine, acupuncture—on whatever you can, so your former employer doesn’t get to keep your hard-earned savings.

If after the first month you haven’t found another job or joined your spouse’s plan:

Sign up for a COBRA extension. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, you and your family have the right to extend your current health plan for up to 18 months after you are laid off.

Those are the high points; I recommend reading the whole thing.

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Tom Mangan posted at 12:06 pm December 19th, 2008 |

Over 800 to be laid off from Cat’s Mossville plant

Reuters reports:

Caterpillar Inc. said on Thursday it would lay off hundreds of workers at an engine factory early next year in response to what it called a significant drop in demand for the plant’s products.

The company said that it had notified 814 workers at its Mossville, Illinois engine assembly. The layoffs are to take effect February 23, 2009 and last “indefinitely.”

The plant makes diesel powerplants used in commercial trucks made by companies like Paccar Inc (PCAR.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Navistar International Corp (NAV.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as well as some of Caterpillar’s own earth-m

Tough times indeed. On a personal note, my Uncle Harold worked as an engineer at Mossville for decades. The dad of my best friend in grade school was a plant superintendent there.

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Tom Mangan posted at 1:03 pm December 18th, 2008 |

Layoffs in the Research Triangle?

TV station in the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina reports:

Clayton, N.C. — Days after the Caterpillar plant in Johnston County announced plans to expand its facility and employ about 300 people, there is now talk of layoffs.

Although plant officials would not comment Thursday morning, Johnston County deputies on site said they were called to the plant to help with any problems that might arise because of “numerous layoffs.”

And here I thought the idea of building plants down South was to avoid labor difficulties that require calling the cops.

More from the Raleigh News & Observer

The plant, which employs about 800, was slated to be furloughed for 10 days as part of a broader effort to reduce production and costs at the company, which makes earth-moving equipment.

Caterpillar also is cutting contract workers at many of its facilities, including the Clayton plant.

I know, Cat just wants them to spend more time with their families at the holidays.

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Tom Mangan posted at 11:45 am December 18th, 2008 |

Cat’s biggest dealer cutting 500 jobs

Finning International is cutting in Canada and the U.K. From Reuters U.K.

Finning said it had let go of about 265 employees in Canada and 260 in Britain. Prior to that, it employed over 12,800 people in six countries, according to the company’s website. It also said it is closing or merging 22 of its British rental depots.

As a result, it said one-time restructuring charges will show up in its fourth-quarter and first-quarter results.

“With the financial upheaval, commodity price declines and slow down in business activity our business, like many others, has been negatively impacted,” said Mike Waites, president and chief executive of Finning, in a statement.

The cuts haven’t gotten bloody yet, though I wouldn’t say that to the face of somebody who’s just been let go a week before Christmas.

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Tom Mangan posted at 11:49 pm December 17th, 2008 |

Cat plans one-week shutdowns, sheds more temps

Paul Gordon of the Peoria Journal Star reports temporary shutdowns in its East Peoria and Pontiac, Ill., plants next year.

These temporary shutdowns, which would bring production and demand into line while putting more than 1,200 workers on temporary layoff, would follow a one-week shutdown the first full week of January at the company’s plant in Pontiac, a UAW official said.

It also follows Caterpillar’s decision a couple of weeks ago to begin reducing its contract workforce at its Peoria-area facilities and this week at its plant in Decatur, affecting a few thousand employees of companies that contract with Caterpillar to do a variety of work.

Caterpillar declined comment on the planned temporary layoffs at Buildings SS, NN and LL in East Peoria – all part of the track-type tractor business unit.

More cuts reported in the Associated Press:

Caterpillar Inc. said Tuesday it was severing ties with more contract workers as the machinery maker continued a cost-cutting drive amid difficult economic conditions.

The company started notifying agencies that employ the workers in Decatur, Ill., where Caterpillar has a factory, said Jim Dugan, a spokesman for the firm. He declined to specify how many workers would be affected.

The Decatur plant produces three types of machines, including large off-highway trucks used in the mining industry, motor graders used for leveling ground and wheel tractor-scrapers used in construction.

More of the same from a paper in a small town on the northeast coast of England where Cat builds articulated dump trucks.

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Tom Mangan posted at 11:19 pm December 16th, 2008 |