Caterpillar lays off workers in Clayton, Sanford

Posted December 18, 2008

— Days after the Caterpillar plant in Johnston County announced plans to expand, the company said it is temporarily laying off workers at its Clayton and Sanford facilities.

But the company – one of the world's largest makers of construction equipment – did not say how many workers the layoff affects or how long it will last.

In addition, Caterpillar is planning "additional non-production days" at both plants next year.

"We regret the need to take these steps, and we understand this will cause disruptions in the lives of employees and their families," Caterpillar said in a news release. "During these uncertain times, we must take steps to position Caterpillar for long-term success."

The reduced demand for the products made at the facilities prompted the layoffs, the company said. It declined to comment further about them. Some workers said they heard hundreds of employees could be affected.

In October, new housing starts fell 4.5 percent to an annual rate of 791,000 – the lowest since records began being recorded in 1959, according to Bloomberg news service. Building permits also declined to levels not seen since the 1960s. Both would be expected to affect demand for Caterpillar equipment.

The Clayton Town Council recently approved a plan to rezone 250 acres near the Caterpillar facility on the south side of N.C. Highway 42 for the company to test its products.

Mayor Jody McLeod said Thursday afternoon that the news surprised town officials. The only word of layoffs he has received came from reports in the community, he said.

Caterpillar is one of the three largest employers in the town, McLeod said, and if the layoffs are large-scale, it will likely send a ripple effect throughout the community.

Last month, WRAL LocalTechWire reported the prospect of layoffs and nonproduction delays.

Sources said an entire shift was to be eliminated at the company's Sanford plant and that approximately 100 contract workers would be affected.

Caterpillar also said that Thursday, it told 814 employees at its Mossville, Ill., plant, which assembles engines, of indefinite layoffs there.


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  • Silver loves Rebel Red puppies Dec 19, 2008

    Caterpillar can give lip service about how much they "regret having" to do this, but yet they do it every time there is the slightest downturn. I know, because I worked there. And the group that was laid off after me was a week before Christmas, just like now. The only thing they regret is a profit loss.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Dec 19, 2008

    "disgusted with what this country has become.My belief these days is that big business and greed run this country"

    I am in total agreement. I sense alot of Americans who are close to the edge and ready to fight for their rights.
    Amazing how this finicial crises has hurt us and not one person who was responsible has gone to prison.

  • icdumbpeople Dec 19, 2008

    Just talked to my daughter, today is her last day at the sanford office. She said it was very sad around there today!!

  • 050462 Dec 19, 2008

    so sad. I am so sorry. Cat is one of the best paying places in Clayton.


  • FromClayton Dec 19, 2008

    so sad. I am so sorry. Cat is one of the best paying places in Clayton. Raleigh can not absorb this many layed off people at once. I am afrid some people will have to leave our community and go somewhere else for work. What a bad time to be layed off and trying to sell your house in clayton.

    I talked to 2 people last night who were let go. They saw this coming and have prepared for it. They are going to be ok. But I am afriad everyone will not be in their shoes....

  • NCTeacher Dec 19, 2008

    Laid off and fired are very different things. If you are "fired" it is usally because you did something wrong and you aren't eligible for unemployment. If you are "laid off", it is usually not anything you have doen wrong, you can file for unemployment and when your old job is open again you are supposed to be offered it first.

  • DangYankee Dec 18, 2008

    grandpeople: "Laid off or fired is the same thing - no salary or benefits."

    Not true. If you were laid off, you can apply for unemployment benefits, and, if you're currently covered by some form of employer-subsidized health insurance, you can be offered to continue some form of health coverage with that carrier under COBRA (a Federal law).

    It doesn't come without it's share of costs.

    I'm in high tech/IT, and I've been laid off three times. It sucks at ANY time of the year, not just at Christmas. One positive spin is that it might make some ratchet-back on spending beyond their means.

  • runny29840 Dec 18, 2008

    If approved, the new facility would be a test site for Caterpillar’s new products.

    It's an R&D site, which has nothing to do with the daily assembly of machines. The people being laid off are assembly techs, the ones that build machines for sale. Lower sales=less machines need to be built so less people needed to build them.

  • bettyboopr2 Dec 18, 2008

    John Deere in Fuquay has been voluntary layoffs for the last few yrs. You can take either 1 or up to 4 months at a time. They do the voluntary thing so there isn't a mandatory layoff. But you never know.

  • Grandpeople Dec 18, 2008

    Laid off or fired is the same thing - no salary or benefits. And when you go to look for work, it makes a difference. It certainly is a time to get rid of the ones that are hard to deal with but if you are a good employee, you still have the stain of the lay off. I wish all of you the best and I hope you find work in a hurry. Not easy out there these days. We laid off two weeks ago. I asked to be made redundent but they kept me and laid the other two I work with off - go figure. Happy Holiday y'all