Caterpillar lays off workers, maintains dividend
A long, bleak march of downsizing began last fall for Caterpillar, Inc., and this month it swept through the midsize city of Peoria, Illinois. An undisclosed number of Caterpillar employees at the company’s Peoria plant received layoff notices the second week of December as part of a workforce reduction and restructuring that was announced last September.
In total, at least 10,000 Caterpillar workers are expected to lose their jobs over the next few years.
The Peoria layoffs, among others, paved the way for the consolidation of what used to be two separate divisions: the Advanced Component & System Division and the Product Development & Global Technology Division. The company has said it will provide severance packages and outplacement services, while an official statement additionally promised that Caterpillar will try to help fired employees find other positions.
The day of the layoffs, the company’s board of directors voted to maintain the quarterly cash dividend of seventy-seven cents per share of common stock. Keeping the dividend at its current level “has remained a high priority throughout this difficult economic cycle,” according to Caterpillar chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman, who acknowledged that the board’s action was made possible by “tough actions necessary to reduce our cost structure.”