The president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999 says last week’s announcement that Wisconsin-based Rexnord Corp. (NYSE: RXN) tentatively plans to move nearly 300 jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico is an "unfair situation and it’s not going to stop." Chuck Jones says he plans to fight to keep those jobs in Indy.
Jones says union representatives met with workers from the Indianapolis plant on Sunday. He says the workers were upset about the move.
"They’re hurt. They’re mad," said Jones. "People think that, because they’re doing a good job and they’re producing good work and the company’s profitable that they’re going to have a job. All of a sudden, due to no fault of their own and corporate greed and unfair trade, they’re losing this."
Jones says he received the news Friday morning and wasn’t totally surprised by the move. He says Rexnord moved operations at its Clinton, Tennessee facility to Mexico earlier this year. "Only about one-third of the (Mexico) plant is being utilized, so when we got that information, we were fearful that Indianapolis would be next."
Friday’s announcement came eight months after Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) announced it was moving nearly 2,100 jobs from its Indianapolis and Huntington subsidiaries to Mexico. Jones says they are experiencing the same thing with Rexnord.
"The plant was very profitable," Jones said. "They’re probably the number one bearing producer in this county. Their quality was excellent, but once again, we’re competing against $3 an hour Mexican wages."
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett told our partners at WTHR-TV Sunday he planned to reach out to the company Monday. "If Rexnord decides to leave, then we will begin the process of skill development and workforce development so that we can find good-paying, quality jobs for those families that have been adversely impacted."
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development and EmployIndy have activated the state’s rapid response team to assist affected workers. Employees will have access to state services, including career counseling and individual case management for each employee, matching skills with open positions and providing any necessary training.
"In an ideal situation, Rexnord Bearings would choose to remain and operate in the Hoosier state," said DWD Commissioner Steven Braun. "Should Rexnord choose to move its operations, DWD and EmployIndy will work together to connect impacted employees with quality employment as soon as possible. With Indiana’s unemployment rate at just 4.5 percent, Hoosier employers are actively seeking to hire workers with manufacturing skills and experience to fill available positions."
Jones says he wasn’t totally surprised by the announcement.