Cummins layoffs could include up to 500 Indiana jobs

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COLUMBUS, Ind. -- Global layoffs at Cummins could include up to 500 Indiana jobs being eliminated, according to a company spokesman.

Columbus-based Cummins announced plans Tuesday to reduce its global professional workforce by 2,000 in the next few weeks.  The cuts would represent a roughly 8-percent reduction in the company’s professional, or salaried, workforce of about 25,000.  It would represent a 4-percent reduction in the company’s total workforce of 54,000 in more than 60 countries around the world.

“That will be across the globe, across our businesses, across our functions,” said Cummins spokesman Jon Mills.  “So there will be, you know, some impact unfortunately on Indiana as well.”

Mills said Indiana layoffs could amount to several hundred, or up to 500.  The layoffs would only affect salaried employees.

The cuts are meant to save Cummins between $160 and $200 million after a weakening demand for heavy-duty truck engines resulted in a disappointing third quarter for the company.  Cummins’ stock price dropped to its lowest level in nearly three years Tuesday.

In Columbus, where Cummins is a major driving force for the local economy, Cummins employees said they were expecting some nervous days ahead as they wait to learn who will be affected by the layoffs.

“Obviously it’s not a comfortable situation for anybody because nobody knows who is going to be one of those two thousand people,” said Cummins employee Maria Avila.  “Where these two thousand people are going to come from, which business unit and from what region in the world?”

Rama Yepuri said he expects Cummins to emerge stronger after the layoffs, but he and his co-workers can’t avoid feeling anxious.

“Yeah, as a human being, I’ll be like that,” Yepuri said.  “It’s uncertain news, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Mills said Cummins executives plan to move quickly in notifying affected employees.  He said nobody wants to prolong the uncertainty among workers.

“This is not something anybody wanted to do,” Mills said.  “But it’s something we have to do and we have to take action now in order to emerge stronger when the markets do return.”

Mills said all affected employees should be notified within the next few weeks.