Caterpillar plans to move jobs from Joliet to Mexico

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Caterpillar Inc. announced Friday it will move production of oil pumps and valves from its plant in Joliet to its facilities near Monterrey, Mexico, resulting in the loss of about 230 full-time jobs from Joliet.

The company notified employees of the coming changes before going public with the news. It said the transition from Joliet to Mexico will be completed about three years from now.

Friday’s news followed its announcement on Jan. 15 that it was contemplating such a move as it decided strategic moves. “The company has since completed all analysis and determined (that) to remain cost competitive it must move forward with the transition…” Caterpillar’s statement said.

Caterpillar said the moves will begin in late 2016 and will be completed by mid-2018.

There are currently more than 700 workers at the Joliet plant that at one time employed several thousand people. The Associated Press reported employment at the Joliet facility topped 7,000 in the late 1970s.

Hourly workers there are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union went on strike for about three months in 2012 before settling on a new, six-year contract that included several concessions.

 “Caterpillar will work with state and local agencies to offer outplacement services, including interview preparation and resume workshops, to impacted employees. The company will also collaborate with local employers to help identify job openings that may be a good fit for its employees,” the company said in a statement.

“Caterpillar values and appreciates its employees’ hard work and their dedication to producing quality components in Joliet, however these actions are needed to better position the company for long-term competitiveness with a more efficient and sustainable manufacturing footprint, while delivering significant cost savings on this core group of components,” it said.

The company said that the manufacturing of truck struts and truck hoist cylinders as well as the heat treatment of components will remain in Joliet, as will the management positions that support those operations.

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).