Caterpillar shuttering Virginia plant, 240 layoffs

About 240 people will be let go mid-2014 when Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) closes its Pulaski, Va. plant, which manufactures underground mining equipment.

Announcing the closure today, the company says some production will be shifted to its Houston, Pa. plant.

Last month the company announced third-quarter figures below analysts’ expectations, and the company revised down its sales and revenues expectations. CEO Doug Oberhelman said he was not seeing any bright spots in mining yet.

The company has responded to the downturn by already closing plants in West Virginia, South Carolina and two in Ontario.

Here’s the company announcement regarding the Pulaski closure:

With a focus on taking actions that will best position the company for long-term success, Caterpillar Inc. recently notified employees that it is closing its underground mining facility in Pulaski, Virginia. The production of underground mining equipment, which includes scoops, coal haulers and other equipment, will transition out of Pulaski and into Caterpillar’s Houston, Pennsylvania, facility by mid-year 2014.

This announcement comes after Caterpillar notified employees on October 8, 2013, about a contemplated strategic decision to consider the movement of current production to another location. We have since conducted a strategic review of the facility and its operations, and have made the difficult decision to move forward with the closure of the Pulaski facility, which has a workforce of approximately 240 people.

Caterpillar will offer full-time management and support employees a severance package and transitional support. Caterpillar and the union will be meeting to discuss the severance benefits for our production employees. We value the contributions our employees have made at the Pulaski facility. However, these actions are needed to make our underground mining business more efficient and competitive, which will be achieved by consolidating production at our Houston, Pennsylvania, plant.

Earlier this year, as part of the strategic consolidation of operations to improve engineering and manufacturing efficiencies, Caterpillar also shifted production from its Tazewell, Virginia, underground mining facility to Houston, Pennsylvania. Further to that, on November 4, 2013, the company announced it would shift production from its Beckley, West Virginia plant into the company’s Houston, Pennsylvania, plant by mid-2014.

Correction: Original image that accompanied post was not Caterpillar machinery. We regret the error.

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