Caterpillar Closing Ft. Inn Plant, Costing 380 Full-Time Jobs - WSPA.com

Caterpillar Closing Ft. Inn Plant, Costing 380 Full-Time Jobs

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The plant employs 380 workers and 130 temporary jobs. The plant employs 380 workers and 130 temporary jobs.
Caterpillar announced Tuesday the company is moving it's engine production operations from Fountain Inn to Georgia and Texas. The plant employs 380 full-time workers and 130 temporary jobs.

The plant will close down by the end of the year with marine engine operations being moved to Griffin, Georgia. The C7 engine assembly line will be moved from the plant in the Upstate to a facility in Seguin, Texas.

A Caterpillar media relations spokesperson says employees in Fountain Inn have been sent home Tuesday to be with their families.

The plant will ramp down production beginning in the second quarter of 2014. Severance packages will be offered to full-time employees.

Those workers can apply on their own to be considered for the relocated jobs.

"We value and appreciate the work that our Fountain Inn employees have contributed and their dedication to producing quality products," said Tana Utley, vice president with responsibility for the Large Power Systems Division at Caterpillar in a written statement.

"However, after considering our options, we have concluded we must move forward with this decision for better asset utilization."


Caterpillar announced first quarter profits for the entire company had increased five percent on April 24.

Fountain inn mayor Gary Long said he was on the phone most of the day, Tuesday, since he learned Caterpillar's plant will close in his city. He said he was trying to find ways to help the employees losing their jobs. 

"How dare they close! That was my first thought. Then my next thoughts were all the people who were going to be out of a paycheck," said Long.

“I think it's important that we know how many people we need to go help.”

Then there's the issue of how the closing of such a large facility will affect the city itself, according to Long.

“They purchased a lot of gas, natural gas, from us. They were our 4th largest user for gas for the industrial. That means a lot of money to us and currently we're going to be losing that,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the Greenville Area Development Corporation, or GADC, feels the employees will not be without work for long.


“There are a lot of skilled people that have been hired by Caterpillar and there are a lot of employers that are looking for those types of skills,” said Kevin Landmesser, Interim President and CEO of GADC.

Landmesser pointed to expanding manufacturing companies in the upstate like BMW who are looking for skilled workers to fill the unemployment void left by Caterpillar.

He said they are already spreading the word about the soon-to-be vacant buildings, drawing on tax incentives to get other major manufacturers to the Upstate.

7 On Your Side’s Addie Hampton asked if Caterpillar is keeping their end of the bargain by leaving after receiving thousands in tax breaks from Greenville County over the years.

“My experience with them is that they not only met but exceeded any sort of agreement,” said Landmesser. 

7 On Your Side spoke to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. They told us there are resources for all South Carolinians that are out of work and looking for a job. They suggest going to your local “SC Works” facility. There you can learn useful tips on resume building and talk with an employment expert who knows the openings in your area.

Learn more HERE.

Reporting by Brianna Smith, Addie Hampton




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Addie Hampton
Addie is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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