9/2/16, "Caterpillar layoffs this week: 300 in Mossville, thousands overseas," PekinTimes.com, Journal Star, Matt Buedel, Mossville, Illinois
"Hundreds of mostly office employees received layoff notices at one of the largest Caterpillar Inc. facilities in the Peoria area this week, just as the company announced plans to close overseas production plants and eliminate thousands more positions.
A total of 300 support and management employees at Building AC and the Tech Center in Mossville this week received job loss notifications that included severance packages, 60 days notice and mandated Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letters.
"We issued out WARN letters to the appropriate agencies and employees," Caterpillar spokeswoman Rachel Potts said Friday. "The letter does not reflect other reductions at our facilities in the area."
The company did not disclose the number of layoffs this week at other locations in the region. The layoffs generally take effect by Oct. 31, and Caterpillar announced it would work to place some of those employees in new positions within the company while helping others find work elsewhere.
In its initial confirmation of the layoffs Monday, the company reiterated its commitment to Peoria, where it has been headquartered for 91 years, and the surrounding area.
The layoffs initiated in Mossville and other facilities in the Peoria area this week largely consisted of engineers working in divisions that Caterpillar announced last month would be consolidated, resulting in significant work force reductions beyond the 10,000 job cuts announced last fall as part of a company-wide restructuring.
Those plans also resulted in the announcement of thousands of intended job cuts overseas
by the end of the week — in Northern Ireland and Belgium.
The company on Thursday announced its intention to restructure operations in Northern Ireland, possibly resulting in the reduction of 200 to 250 production, support and management positions over the course of one to two years.
“We recognize that what we are considering is difficult for our employees, their families and the communities where they live and work," said Tom Frake, Caterpillar vice president with responsibilities for Global Power Solutions. "Despite these contemplated actions, we remain committed to Northern Ireland. In fact, these potential changes would make us more efficient and competitive over the longer term as we adapt to the weak market conditions."
One day after the Northern Ireland announcement, Caterpillar revealed its intentions to shift production of some construction equipment from Belgium to France and other locations outside Europe, resulting in about 2,000 layoffs.
That plan would move production from Gosselies, Belgium, to Grenoble, France, and elsewhere — and possibly include shifting component production to unidentified external suppliers and other Caterpillar facilities.
“We have to contemplate actions to reduce manufacturing capacity and take operating costs out of our business to align with lower demand," said Tom Pellette, group president with responsibility for Construction Industries. "Should the intention be confirmed, we will support the local leadership in order to mitigate the impact on our employees, their families and the communities where we’re located.""
"Matt Buedel is the Journal Star business reporter."