Caterpillar digging into Indiana

Caterpillar has been a mainstay Illinois-based company for generations but no longer.  The power and influence of big labor has impacted the company for too long, damaging its bottom-line and hurting workers.

Now that Illinois’ neighbor, Indiana, has become a Right to Work state, Caterpillar is exploring their options, according to The Detroit News’ Robert Laurie:

Back in 2009, Barack Obama announced that Caterpillar had promised to rehire some of its laid-off workforce if his stimulus proposal passed. This week, the nation’s largest manufacturer of mining and construction equipment announced that it would be moving a factory from Canada to Indiana. In the process, it will create 450 new jobs in the state.

You’d think the president would be happy, but this is not quite what he had bargained for. Take note, Governor Snyder. Caterpillar’s move came almost immediately after Indiana passed a right-to-work law, which will make union dues voluntary in the state. Labor officials claim Right To Work will deplete union funds, making it much more difficult for them to organize factories.

Coincidence? Workers who were formerly employed at the London, Ontario factory have been locked out since the beginning of the year after their union refused to accept pay cuts which would have kept the operation profitable. As a result of Big Labor’s obstinance, these jobs have been permanently eliminated and the plant relocated. The work will now be done in Muncie, [Indiana].

Big business has already been fleeing Quinn’s state after he signed a massive 2011 tax hike. Illinois had been in the running for a new Caterpillar facility of its own, one that would bring a whopping 1,400 jobs to the area by relocating a factory currently operating in Japan. This plan has now been completely scrapped.

However, while Cat may not have directly mentioned Right To Work, it did slam the way Illinois is treating business. “Please understand,” Caterpillar representatives said in an email, “that even if your community had the right logistics for this project, Caterpillar’s previously documented concerns about the business climate and overall fiscal health of the state of Illinois still would have made it unpractical for us to select your community for this project.”

Governor Quinn is now waving goodbye to 1,400 potential jobs.

While the location of the eventual facility has not been revealed, North Carolina is strongly rumored. North Carolina passed its Right To Work law way back in 1947, and currently plays host to Caterpillar’s world headquarters.

All of this should be of grave concern to Michigan’s Governor Snyder, who has been ambivalent towards the Right To Work issue. He’s gone on record as saying that he wouldn’t be opposed to signing such a bill if it reached his desk – but he also seems genuinely disinterested in pushing his Republican Legislature to make it happen.

Considering Detroit’s dismal unemployment numbers, the chokehold of the UAW, and the fact that the state to our immediate south is dealing with its own union image, the pressure is now on Rick Snyder. Indiana is just a few miles away and, with the stroke of Governor Mitch Daniels’ pen, it’s become much more attractive to manufacturers.

If Michigan cities are to compete for factory jobs, when there’s a Right To Work state within commuter distance, Snyder will be forced to re-evaluate his indifference.




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38 Responses to Caterpillar: Goodbye Illinois, Hello Indiana’s Right To Work

  1. Michael McOsker says:

    Mr. Ritenour’s post below is not only comprehensive, but is well written, completely pertinent to the article, factually specific, and (perhaps, most importantly) civilized. I’d have to admit – grudgingly – that some of our Country’s best and smartest people (and best workers) are Republicans.

  2. […] was locked in a labor dispute with a union) and announced a new plant in Indiana. Caterpillar also recently scrapped plans to build a plant employing 1,400 people in heavily-unionized Illinois citing the “business climate” and announced this month that it would instead be located […]

  3. Ryan Ritenour says:

    I have a unique perspective as I vote Republican 100%, but I’m a 25 year member of the Steelworkers union. I got tired of all the bias and just took numbers from government websites and looked myself. I looked back 10 years, month by month, at all 50 states unemployment rates, and if they are RTW. There is no correlation seen between unemployment numbers and RTW laws. Look for yourself. For the 10 lowest unemployment states, 6 are RTW. Of the 10 highest, 6 are RTW. Looking at the rest of the RTW states, they are scattered throughout.

    However when I looked not at wages, but at per-capita income, which I feel best represents how a state is doing, we find that of the 22 states that have the highest per-capita incomes, only 2 are RTW, and that’s ND and Virginia, and we all know that ND is because of the oil boon.

    When I showed this to my IN congressman, he did look at the info, but told me that his constituents wanted RTW 2-1. I told him that while I usually agree that he should vote the way of his constituents, sometimes he needs to vote for what’s best for his constituents, and he agreed with me that many didn’t understand RTW, or even unions. They just see the TV reports of how public sector unions are bad. I’m not going to debate them, but I can tell you that local non-public sector unions help the local workers greatly. I have worked many years non-union, and many more union, and I don’t want to go back to the non-union places. I like the extra job protection and the safer work environment.

  4. Michael McOsker says:

    Leaving aside the article’s many inaccuracies, I think we should focus on the author’s intent. Here it is in a nutshell: Americans should be proud of the fact that the right wingnuts and their corporate masters in Indiana have decided to pimp out their sons and daughters to low wage employers. Their boast is “We Indianans have less self respect than you. Our kids deserve less than your kids. We’re good, quiet, passive, obedient slaves here. Hire in Indiana. We’ll make damned sure that your boots are well licked by our kids – now and forevermore. No union here, boss!”

  5. […] was locked in a labor dispute with a union) and announced a new plant in Indiana. Caterpillar also recently scrapped plans to build a plant employing 1,400 people in heavily-unionized Illinois citing the “business climate” and rumors are it will instead build that plant in […]

  6. Thomas says:

    RE: Unions built this country! Oh well, it was a good ride for me, took me to retirement.

    Unions at one time did good but now are just a money bank for the socialist and communists. Might be the attitude above, ‘me, me, me. Look at me, I don’t care if the factories go overseas, I am retired now and getting my 30 pieces of silver.’ You have to wonder, don’t they care about who is following them and where they will work?

  7. Chet Becker says:

    Great article. Keep up the great work.

  8. TLR says:

    Jobs for the American worker means a win for the average worker/taxpayer but a LOSS for obamma and his crooked union buddies. Funny how that works out.

  9. Steve says:

    To bad this story is bullshit! Catepilar has decided to move this plant to Georgia not Indiana! Mitch Daniels didn’t count on that and neither did the pro right to work site that placed this article on their page!!!

  10. Pearl Hix says:

    I will bet that the CEO’s of Caterpillar will get a huge bonus for this. Unions are what is breaking the backs of this Country. Do not think so. Think it is the Executives and their millions of dollar bonuses.

  11. Sam says:

    Uh..Cat’s world HQ is still in Peoria, IL…Just correcting the article

  12. […] Caterpillar: Goodbye Illinois, Hello Indiana’s Right To Work […]

  13. Dave Richards says:

    The once great unions have become a parasite on society.

  14. Steve says:

    Yeah the right to bargain is a bad idea. Take whatever the company gives you and shut up. Wake up, CEO’s don’t want unions for that reason. Can’t understand why people can’t see that.

  15. Rob P says:

    If unions actually provided a benefit, people would be happy to pay dues. This is America not the USSR.

  16. Rich66 says:

    Sounds like the free market. I bet the folks in Muncie are pretty happy about that.

    Hey any of you Illinois folks wanna live in a free state where you can even protect yourself from murdering scumbags and thieves?

    Just one more nail in Illinois’ coffin.
    I have to travel through it some times but I make a point of not spending a dime when I do.

    Mayor Daley was enough reason to dislike the politics of Illinois but the corruption of the state politics and their anti 2nd ammendment stance is another.
    So all I can say is HA HA!!!

  17. Debera Voisin says:

    Thanks for your description. I really like to see clearly Marcy Lu

  18. Don says:

    I worked in Indiana for 35 years as a union worker,now that its right to work you will work for less count on it.I work in Florida now in a right to work for less state but here of course you dont have to be in the union but we are not forced to represent a non member at the expense of the paying members.We have 150 employees and 130 are union members.People need to go back in history and see why unions were created to start with……..Unlike what some people think unions didnt cause all our problems……..