Caterpillar announced to its employees on Monday that it will close sell its Oak Creek corporate building and move between 200 and 250 jobs back to South Milwaukee in the first half of 2016.
These are salaried professional workers in finance, human resources, legal, marketing, etc. — many folks who had been working in South Milwaukee prior to the opening of the Oak Creek mining headquarters in the former Midwest Airlines building about five years ago.
The move is not a surprise, given Cat’s announcement last month of up to 10,000 global job cuts and other consolidations coming in light of a continuing slumping mining industry. (Competitor Joy Global also announced job cuts last week.)
While it’s hard to call this great news — certainly when taking a broader perspective with economic development — it does strengthen Cat’s presence in downtown South Milwaukee and should help area businesses.
Cat also continues with its plans to invest in its manufacturing presence here.
A company spokesman tells me that the South Milwaukee plant — now in the company’s Surface Mining and Technology group — will be focusing on rope shovels and draglines going forward, and Caterpillar continues to plan investments in the facility in the next three years to meet eventual demand. Cat had previously announced the closure of 250,000 square feet of manufacturing space, while investing in the space that remains.
I’ll keep you posted.