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Union officials question Caterpillar layoffs

Published On: Apr 03 2013 11:03:12 AM CDT
MILWAUKEE -

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 said 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 said 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 that they find the 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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