Caterpillar to close its Oak Creek corporate office complex

Jobs will be moved to South Milwaukee

Caterpillar, job reductions, mining, construction
Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc. will close its Oak Creek office.

Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar Inc. announced to its employees Monday that it plans to close its Oak Creek corporate office complex at 6744 S. Howell Ave. and move the 250 jobs there to South Milwaukee in the first half of 2016.

South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks posted the information on his blog Tuesday afternoon, and Caterpillar confirmed the move with BizTimes Milwaukee.

Caterpillar said the closure is part of its overall cost reduction actions, and it will sell the facility. The company expects to complete the shift by the third quarter of 2016. There will be no layoffs associated with the move.

The positions that will be relocating include salaried professionals who work in finance, human resources, legal and marketing. Many of those jobs were previously based in South Milwaukee at 1100 Milwaukee Ave., a Caterpillar facility that was formerly the headquarters of Bucyrus International Inc.

Brooks said it’s hard to call this good news, because it will be a loss for Oak Creek, but it will strengthen Caterpillar’s presence in South Milwaukee and should help businesses in that community.

“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,” Brooks wrote in his blog.

Bucyrus International Inc. purchased the two-building, 120,833-square-foot former Midwest Airlines corporate headquarters office complex at 6744 S. Howell Ave. in Oak Creek for $9 million in June 2010.

Then Caterpillar acquired Bucyrus for $8.6 billion in November 2010 and moved the headquarters of its global mining division to the Oak Creek campus.

Caterpillar announced on Sept. 28 that it plans to cut 4,000 to 5,000 jobs between now and the end of 2016, with most of the cuts occurring this year. In total, the company plans to reduce its workforce by more than 10,000 through 2018 as part of a move to reduce annual costs by about $1.5 billion.

The company did not specify how many Milwaukee-area employees would be impacted.

As of the end of the second quarter, Caterpillar had 800 production and office employees in South Milwaukee and 1,300 total employees in Wisconsin. The global manufacturer has 111,247 employees globally.

“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,” Brooks wrote. “Caterpillar continues to plan investments in the facility in the next three years to meet eventual demand.”

Oak Creek Mayor Stephen Scaffidi could not be reached for comment.

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