Hultgren, Local Official Urge Caterpillar to Work with Community following Announcement of Aurora Plant Closure
Washington, DC — Following the March 31, 2017 announcement that Caterpillar, Inc. would be closing its Aurora manufacturing plant and dislocating 800 area jobs, U.S. Representative Randy Hultgren (IL-14) and Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder sent a letter to Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. The two urge him to “immediately begin a robust and vitally important community engagement with us and other local leaders regarding the prospects for not only the future vacated portions of the Aurora manufacturing facility, but also the futures of the approximately 800 employees who will be released from employment by the time consolidation is completed at the end of 2018.”
The letter is available here and below:
100 NE Adams Street
Peoria, Illinois 61629
In light of the March 31, 2017, disappointing announcement that Caterpillar will consolidate production from Aurora, Illinois into other manufacturing facilities, we write to you to request that Caterpillar, Inc. immediately begin a robust and vitally important community engagement with us and other local leaders regarding the prospects for not only the future vacated portions of the Aurora manufacturing facility, but also the futures of the approximately 800 employees who will be released from employment by the time consolidation is completed at the end of 2018.
Caterpillar’s Aurora facility has been an integral part of Kendall County and the surrounding communities since its construction in the 1950’s. The facility helped shape the character and economic growth of the region from sleepy rural towns and cornfields to a manufacturing hub of the 2000’s. Much of that growth may not have taken place if not for the dedicated careers of so many who worked at the plant.
Kendall County and the surrounding communities still hold on to that character. Our workforce is one of the most skilled in the State of Illinois, ranging from those with technical and vocational certificates to graduates with advanced degrees. Good schools with robust vocational programs along with two community colleges, Waubonsee Community College and Joliet Junior College, mean the workforce will be educated and trained to meet the needs of advanced manufacturing in the future.
Caterpillar, Inc.’s 2016 Fourth Quarter financial report, while showing glimmers of a recovery, reflected the ongoing revenue challenges your company faces in a challenging global marketplace. We understand the challenges, but know this – the Kendall County area is a business-forward community. Our communities work together to confront challenges. We hope you will accept our serious request to join with us and other local officials in a collaborative effort to construct a plan for the redevelopment of the area to ensure our workforce and community have opportunities in place before the manufacturing lines in Aurora are shut down. Finally, we ask that all due consideration be given to extending a portion of the manufacturing wind down to 24-months. Displacing 800 people into the job market at once spells disaster for families and the local economy. If you join with us now and begin the work of laying a foundation for future economic development in the area, we know that we will have a valuable head start to address whatever obstacles may come our way. Having been an integral part of the Caterpillar family for decades, we know the employees and communities would appreciate your consideration.
We remain confident that you will indeed recognize the many advantages the Kendall County region offers, and not only partner with us to reinvent our future, but continue to invest in the remaining employees and facility in the future.
Member of Congress
Scott R. Gryder
Chairman, Kendall County Board