Anchor Coupling to close 3 local plants

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Anchor Coupling is pulling out of Illinois, taking 170 jobs from plants in Sterling and Dixon.

The company made the announcement to employees Friday, June 6, 2014.

Employees told News Eight that the company is consolidating its three area plants and moving them to Menominee, Michigan. The plant will ramp down production in October, and the move is expected to be finalized by 2015.

Employees who are displaced will be offered severance packages.

"Basically, some of us can have the option to go there or look for a job around here -- if you can find something, that's just it. I don't know. Like I said, after 14 years, it kinda sucks," said employee Jimmy Garcia.

Peoria-based Caterpillar, which owns Anchor Coupling, recently told employees that a consolidation study was nearly complete. The study results prompted the company to decide consolidation, including closing their two plants in Sterling and one in Dixon, was their next move.

Caterpillar officials said the decision was the result of the cost of operating the three facilities in Illinois, and it was not a reflection on the performance of the workers.

“We recognize that this decision will be difficult for our employees,” said Greg Folley, vice president with responsibility for Caterpillar’s Remanufacturing, Components and Work Tools Division in a press release.

“We value and appreciate the work that our Sterling and Dixon employees have contributed and their dedication to producing and distributing quality products. This decision is not about the performance of these plants, but rather about improving efficiency across the component manufacturing footprint and reducing the cost structure driven by three independent facilities, while providing the highest quality products to our customers," said Folley.

Anchor makes hydraulic hoses and couplings. The company is headquartered in Menominee, Michigan.