INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
About 1,500 workers at three Indiana factories are facing layoffs despite
hopes that President Donald Trump would convince the companies to reverse
plans for moving production to Mexico.
confirmed Friday that the first wave of about 50 layoffs happened last week
at its electronics plant that had about 700 workers in Huntington. The plant
in the northeastern Indiana city is slated for closure.
Steps are also
being taken toward about 550 job cuts anticipated at a Carrier Corp. factory
in Indianapolis, where Trump’s intervention last fall curbed job losses but
didn’t halt them altogether. Layoffs could start within a month at a
350-worker Rexnord industrial bearings factory in Indianapolis, according to
United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones, who represents workers
at the Carrier and Rexnord plants.
Trump visited the
Carrier factory on Dec. 1, touting his role in the decision of parent
company United Technologies to reverse about 800 of its some 1,400 planned
job cuts at the furnace plant and only partially move operations to Mexico.
Trump told a crowd of workers and company officials: “Companies are not
going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. It’s not
going to happen.”
The following day,
Trump tweeted: “Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously
firing all of its 300 workers. This is happening all over our country. No
United Technologies and Milwaukee-based Rexnord have since pushed on
preparations for the jobs cuts, taking steps such as removing equipment from
the Indiana factories without any signs of additional Trump intervention.
“We haven’t heard
anything at all. With that being said, I have to assume the Rexnord and
Carrier situations are both done deals,” said Jones, who was chastised by a
Trump tweet in early December after complaining that Trump had given false
hope to workers by inflating the number of Carrier jobs being kept in
worked their final shifts at the United Technologies Electronic Controls
factory in Huntington on March 10, and about 100 more job cuts could come
within the next week, said Julie Marsh, who was vice president of the
plant’s union local before taking a voluntary layoff from her job of 17
years last week.
“I couldn’t take it
anymore,” Marsh said in a phone interview Friday. “It was hard to see the
equipment going out. It’s hard to watch people’s faces because everybody
knows it’s coming now.”
have said the Huntington factory could be shut down in early 2018.
Jones said about
300 Carrier workers applied to accept voluntary layoffs, which could begin
in September. Those workers will receive a severance package including one
week’s pay for every year of employment and six months of paid medical
A spokeswoman for
Carrier confirmed the plans for voluntary layoffs but didn’t respond to
questions about whether additional rollbacks of the production shifts had
didn’t reply to requests for comment. Rexnord CEO Todd Adams said in a
February conference call with analysts that he didn’t see anything from
Trump’s talk on tariffs and possible foreign trade restrictions to change
the company’s decision about operating in Mexico.
“We’re very much a
U.S. manufacturer, but we have global customers and serve global markets, so
we sort of have to manufacture in a lot of different places to be an
effective participant in the marketplace,” Adams said.
of Commerce Jim Schellinger said in a recent interview that state officials
unsuccessfully tried to talk with Rexnord about its decision. He said
government officials lacked leverage with Rexnord that they had with United
Technologies - which also owns Pratt & Whitney, a big supplier of fighter
jet engines that relies in part on U.S. military contracts.