Latest round of Cat layoffs could cut upwards of 900 jobs

Updated Mar 20, 2018
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A new report from Reuters expanding upon news last month out of Waco, Texas, says that Caterpillar’s coming job cuts could impact nearly 900 workers.

At the end of February, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported receiving confirmation from Cat that the heavy equipment manufacturer would be closing its Waco Work Tools plant. The plant manufactures excavator buckets, couplers and hammers and employs 200 people. Cat plans to move those operations to a facility in Wamego, Kansas, the paper reported. A separate distribution facility in Waco will not be affected by the closing of the Work Tools Plant.

However, according to the new Reutuers report, Waco isn’t the only city cat has plans to cut jobs in. Cat also plans to close a demonstration facility in Panama, while its Progress Rail group is considering closing an engine manufacturing plant in LeGrange, Illinois. Reuters reports that the engine manufacturing operations would be moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and outside suppliers.

The planned and possible cuts are the latest of several closings and consolidations the company has performed since announcing a cost reduction plan nearly three years ago. The plan is designed to save the company $1.5 billion annually through the end of this year. So far the company has either closed or consolidated about 30 facilities worldwide.

The initial estimate for global job cuts was 10,000. However due to market conditions in 2016, the company had to be “more aggressive” than it had anticipated with these job eliminations. With these coming layoffs, Cat will have cut more than 15,000 jobs since it began the cost reduction plan in 2015.

In its restructuring, Caterpillar is shifting its overall strategy to boost profitability and better manage business cycles. Due to that strategy, manufacturing workers have not been alone in dealing with the cuts. The company’s corporate leadership has been nearly entirely turned over through the retirement or resignation of several vice presidents, along with the retirement of former chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman. Oberhelman spent 41 years with Cat and was replaced by current CEO Jim Umpleby.


Editor’s note: Senior Editor Joy Powell and Online Editor Wayne Grayson contributed to this report.