Caterpillar lays off 40 pct of its South Milwaukee factory workers

Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) is laying off 250 to 300 workers at its south Milwaukee plant, its heavy equipment production line it acquired from Bucyrus.

Management cited slow sales as the reason for the cuts. The announcement was made March 28, just before the Easter long weekend.

The cuts kick off Caterpillar's contract talks with the United Steelworkers Union, which represents the 800 workers at the South Milwaukee plant, that are set to begin Tuesday.

Rusty Dann, a Caterpillar spokesperson, told WISN 12 News that the that some of the cuts will be short-term.

"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."

south milwaukee plant caterpillar bucyrus

A Google Street View screen capture showing the South Milwaukee plant at 1100 Milwaukee Ave, South Milwaukee, WI. The Bucyrus logo in this picture is still visible.