Wis. union officials question Caterpillar layoffs

Union officials in Wisconsin are questioning Caterpillar Inc.

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Union officials in Wisconsin are questioning Caterpillar Inc.'s plans to temporarily lay off up to 300 workers in South Milwaukee after the company's CEO called for more visas for foreign engineers.

Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman spoke Monday at a kickoff event for the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition in Chicago. He says there should be more visas available for engineers from overseas and a path to legal status for workers who entered the U.S. illegally.

Oberhelman says the Illinois-based heavy-equipment manufacturer has trouble filling high- and lower-skill jobs.

Union leaders told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a story Wednesday (http://bit.ly/Z5EmgN ) that they find those comments suspicious since the company has said it would lay off up to 40 percent of its workers in the Milwaukee area because equipment sales have slowed.


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