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Cat will move jobs to Mapleton after closing two southern facilities

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Caterpillar Inc. announced Thursday it will move about 200 jobs to its foundry in Mapleton when it shuts down two southern plants within the next two years.

The company also announced it is contemplating moving some of its component production from Joliet to a factory in Mexico and will make the final decision within the next month or so.

The southern plants that will be closed are the Toccoa, Georgia foundry and the seals factory in Franklin, N.C. Seals production will be consolidated at Mapleton. All are part of the Reman, Components and Work Tools Division.

While the Mapleton foundry will see an increase of up to 200 jobs by the end of 2016, the move will displace approximately 275 workers in the Toccoa and Franklin facilities, the company said in a news release.

Consolidating production to an existing location in close proximity to several of Caterpillar’s largest prime product manufacturing facilities and its global parts distribution headquarters and warehouse will enable the company to reduce shipping costs and drive efficiency by utilizing existing assets, the company said. Both the Franklin and Toccoa facilities produce seals used in Caterpillar machines manufactured around the world.

“This decision is not a reflection of the dedication that our Franklin and Toccoa employees have demonstrated, but rather about improving efficiency across our component manufacturing footprint and locating seal production much closer to our supply base and several large facilities that use these components,” said RCWT Vice President Greg Folley.    

The final transition for the consolidation is expected to be completed within the next two years. The company will work with employees to determine interest in positions at other Caterpillar facilities where applicable.

Displaced employees will receive severance packages from the company and outplacement services from appropriate agencies to ensure they have support during this transition, the news release said.

Regarding operations in Joliet, the company said it is contemplating plans to restructure part of its manufacturing facility there for competitive reasons.

The company’s Advanced Components and Systems Division (ACSD) on Thursday today informed employees at its Joliet facility that it is considering moving some of its component manufacturing from Joliet to a sister ACSD facility in Monterrey, Mexico. If the company proceeds with that, it would impact approximately 230 full-time production positions in Joliet, and the transition of production would begin in 2016.

The Joliet facility manufactures hydraulic components, including gear and engine oil pumps, valves, truck struts and truck hoist cylinders, which are distributed to other Caterpillar facilities and dealers around the world. The contemplated decision involves two components produced in Joliet – specifically, gear/engine oil pumps and valves – and would better position ACSD for long-term competitiveness, the company said in the news release.  

“We recognize that this decision, if finalized, will be difficult for our employees,” said ACSD Vice President Jean Savage. “We value and appreciate our employees’ hard work and their dedication to producing quality components. In studying the global landscape for producing these types of components, it is becoming clear that the Joliet location is not as competitive for these particular components.”



About the Author
Paul Gordon is the editor of The Peorian after spending 29 years of indentured servitude at the Peoria Journal Star. He’s an award-winning writer, raconteur and song-and-dance man. He also went to a high school whose team name is the Alices (that’s Vincennes Lincoln High School in Indiana; you can look it up).