INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Rexnord posted its first preliminary layoff notices Monday morning, according to union officials, as the company begins moving operations from Indianapolis to Mexico.
Twenty-three employees were notified Monday. In the end, nearly 300 jobs will be moved.
“It’s been going on, and we’ve been seeing machines go out the door now here for a couple months,” Gary Canter said, a Rexnord employee. “We have our southern replacement workers in there being trained on our jobs for a couple months now.”
Union officials said the company has hosted job fairs, one even inside the facility, but if employees leave and accept a job before they are officially laid off, they will lose severance pay and health benefits negotiated as part of the exit.
“If you’re going to bring people in like that to try to help us find jobs and then tell us we can’t go get those jobs, I mean that’s really dirty,” Canter said. “There’s not a lot of other words to use. It’s just dirty.”
Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, said he is meeting with company leaders Tuesday in an effort to negotiate a better exit strategy and nail down exact end dates.
Rexnord officials initially said they wanted to have the plant closed by June.
“It’s a major problem where these people’s lives are being disrupted,” Jones said. “And they know they’re going to lose a job.”
Jones said the severance package offered to Rexnord employees is almost exactly the same package offered to Carrier employees which is six months of medical and dental insurance and the equivalent of one week’s pay for every year of service.
Workers could potentially take other jobs within the company from employees with less seniority, so the layoff list released Monday is tentative. The company is expected to continue releasing layoff notices in the coming weeks until operations fully shut down.