DECATUR -- Caterpillar workers are bracing for the worst. The plant will lay off workers next month. The company says it's making cuts because customers are placing fewer orders. Now hundreds of workers will spend weeks without a job.
CAT representatives say the layoffs include one week in November, then four weeks in December. And no specific job is safe. About 20% of the workforce from the production line to management will be cut. One worker said that could be as many as 500 people, all right in the middle of the holiday season.
"There's been rumors going around that we were going to get a lay off."
But this Caterpillar worker, who asked to remain anonymous, never thought they'd come true. She was laid off over the summer, when G&D Integrated shut down its plant. Luckily, CAT had openings she was able to apply for.
"You never know if you were going to be able to pass the test that Caterpillar had or find another job," she said.
She got the job and things seemed to take a turn for the better.
"It felt good, I thought I was going to be doing better because at Caterpillar you're making a lot more money than G&D and I'm a single mom so I thought I was going to be doing alright."
Until Monday morning when she learned she might become jobless for the second time this year. Workers outside the plant told us they couldn't believe the bad news, especially since this plant alone has hired about 700 union workers since January.
CAT reps say the point of temporary layoffs is to avoid permanent ones. But missing a paycheck even for a few weeks makes her full time job at home a difficult one.
"Providing for my kids, Christmas is coming around the corner, family and all that kind of stuff," she said. "They could tell us January 1st we might have our jobs back, but it could be May 1st, a month, two months down the road, you never know."
The company says everyone laid off should be back to work on January 1. Anyone without a job will keep their health benefits. They can also apply for unemployment.
UAW Local 751 represents the workers. The union president didn't have a comment about the layoffs at this time.
Update: 5:00 pm
DECATUR -- One of the city's biggest companies is getting ready to layoff some of its workers. A representative with the company wouldn't say how many people will be affected, but one employee says it's close to 500.
The company plans to shut down parts of the plant during one week in November and all of December. It means workers in those areas will be temporarily laid off. Whether they'll eventually be brought back remains to be seen.
The company released a statement about its decision to move forward with the cuts:
The economic and business environment that we are experiencing
today is different from what we anticipated earlier in the year.
Economic growth and demand from customers around the world
has not reached expected levels.
Caterpillar says it's doing its best to make sure the temporary layoffs don't turn into permanent ones. Again, the number of workers and specific positions affected are currently unknown.
Last month, Caterpillar announced rolling layoffs at its East Peoria facility. A spokesperson says the temporary layoffs will be for two weeks; a week in November near Thanksgiving and another in December before Christmas.
Original: 10:07 am
DECATUR -- Company leaders at Caterpillar announced plans to closed some areas of its facility for one week in November, and all of December. It's in response to a drop in demand for its products.
Company officials also blamed "world economic growth, short-term economic risks..., the Eurozone debt crisis, and the slowing in China's growth," as factors negatively impacting production. Workers have already been notified, but at this time, the number of employees affected is not known.
Not all employees will be impacted by the temporary layoffs, but it will include production, support and management staff. A spokesperson says company leaders hope taking these actions now will prevent further indefinite layoffs.