Caterpillar announces major layoffs in Milwaukee area

CREATED Mar 28, 2013

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SOUTH MILWAUKEE - Caterpillar announced it will lay off employees at its South Milwaukee plant. The company informed employees during a staff meeting Thursday.

A company spokesman would not confirm the number of employees who would lose their jobs, but told TODAY'S TMJ4 they needed to bring their production in line with demand.

Union Officials estimate 250 union workers would be out of a job. They say it's not clear if they will be temporary or long-term.

"As people retire they haven’t been replacing them, so we kinda had an idea the business has slowed down." said local union president Kevin Jaskie. "We didn't think that it was to this level."

Caterpillar issued the following statement:

"Various Caterpillar facilities and business units are taking action to bring our production in line with demand, including our operations in South Milwaukee. This includes some short-term temporary layoffs and other actions. These actions vary from location to location and impact both production and support and management employees. We know this is difficult for our employees, but we are taking steps to better align with the current economic circumstances, while at the same time remain focused on positioning the Company for long-term success."

Caterpillar acquired the plant in a takeover of Bucyrus International in 2010. The company and union officials are scheduled to begin contract negotiations Tuesday.