Cummins' white-collar layoffs begin

Layoff notices were delivered to some members of the professional staff at Columbus-based Cummins Inc. this week, affecting white-collar workers in the engine maker’s corporate headquarters for the first time since a move to trim the global workforce was announced five weeks ago.

“These things are literally happening department by department as the company works through projects and priorities,” Jon Mills, Cu­m­mins director of external co­m­munications, said Tuesday.

He said Cummins employees should know the full extent of the layoffs and who is affected by mid-December. Mills said there would not be external announcements ea­ch time a reduction is made.

Cummins announced Oct. 9 it would trim 1,000 to 1,500 jobs by year’s end from its 47,­000-member worldwide

wo­r­k­­force to cope with weaker-than-expected sales and a slowdown in the world economy. The timing of that workforce announcement coincided with a revised sales forecast of $17 billion for the year, which is $1 billion lower than what was estimated in July.

Then on Oct. 17, the engine maker specified that about 150 workers — at least one-10th of the total global workforce reduction — would be laid off from among its three southern Indiana plants, the Fuel Systems Plant in Columbus, the Columbus MidRange Engine Plant and the Seymour Engine plant. As part of that announcement, Cummins said it also expected 126 workers would be transferred to the MidRange Engine Plant.

Cummins currently has about 7,700 employees in southern Indiana.

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