Posted 10 years ago on May 6, 2013, 10:40 a.m. EST by GirlFriday
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What made the biggest headlines, though, was Sullivan’s analysis of why his company had become so successful. After evaluating the world market in sophisticated ore excavation, he announced he was keeping the plant unionized and expanding operations in the United States, because his workers were more productive and efficient than lower-paid workers in other states or countries. Sullivan said he preferred the experienced United Steelworkers (USW) teams for financial reasons—and he said it so often that even militant workers conditioned to doubt management were happy to be respected so loudly, enthusiastically agreeing to be the public face for the company.
Bucyrus' success received plenty of attention. The best-known name in international mining, Peoria, Ill.-headquartered Caterpillar, announced in 2011 a protective move against the upstart. It would try to beat back Bucyrus—and another Milwaukee-based high-roller in this field, Joy Global—by creating its own line of giant mining shovels.
Then, within months, to the surprise of many financiers, Caterpillar abandoned its plan and paid a staggering $7.6 billion to acquire Bucyrus International.