Rexnord layoffs to begin earlier than expected, severance package announced

Rexnord workers are calling for Donald Trump to save their jobs following the deal with Carrier. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Rexnord workers have been notified that layoffs will now begin in February 2017, two months earlier than anticipated.

In October, it was announced the company would begin moving jobs to Monterey, Mexico. The transition was set to place between April and June. On Friday, workers received notice that they layoffs would now begin in February.

Rexnord workers will be eligible to receive a severance package of $1,500. Employees will also receive a payment of $500 before the new year.

Workers will receive one week of salary for every year they spent with the company. The company will also give workers free health care for half a year.

The entire shutdown agreement can be read below.

Union reps with United Steelworkers Local 1999 said approximately 290 bargaining unit workers are affected and between 50 and 60 salaried employees.

Union leader and Rexnord worker Don Zering said he’s not giving up on saving the jobs.

“Carrier got their severance package and Trump got something done there. We’re still hoping he gets a hold of Rexnord,” Sering said. “I don’t know if he has. I’m hoping they see this and find a way to do something before they start moving machines.”

Trump called out Rexnord earlier this month with a tweet that said, “Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. This is happening all over the country. No more!”

Zering said the severance package includes an agreement that local Rexnord workers will train the people who will work for Rexnord in Mexico.

“We don’t like it. It’s awful to train somebody that’s going to take your job, but we’re there for the pay. To try to help the people,” Zering said. “That’s what we said we’d do. We’ll do our job.”

Rexnord made the decision to close the west side facility official in November. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett then announced his intention to recover $380,000 from Rexnord that the company had received in the form of tax savings.

After the move was announced, USW 1999 President Chuck Jones blamed corporate greed and cheap Mexican labor for the move.

“It wasn’t due to bad quality or not being profitable, it’s over corporate greed pure and simple. Once again our workers can’t compete with $3.00 per hour Mexican wages. It’s a shame,” Jones said at the time.

Since then, Jones has found himself at the center of a political battle regarding President-elect Donald Trump and a plan by Carrier to move jobs to Mexico.

After it was announced that some of the Carrier jobs were being saved due to state incentives being offered to the company, some Rexnord workers were hoping their jobs could also be saved.

Zering called a meeting for workers to discuss the severance deal Sunday at the union hall.

On Friday afternoon, Rexnord released this statement:

Together with the local Steelworkers Union, we have reached a mutual and final agreement regarding the relocation of our Indianapolis manufacturing operations.  Completion of the relocation continues to be in the April to June timeframe.

From the outset, we have appreciated the open dialogue with the Union. This has been a very difficult decision and we understand the human impact it will have on our associates, their families and the Indianapolis community. It is our intent to provide support and transition services for our impacted associates during this difficult time.

While some of the Indianapolis positions are being relocated to our existing facility in Mexico, we are also retaining general office positions in Indianapolis and creating new jobs in Texas.  We have been manufacturing products in America for 125 years, and our U.S. operations continue to be home to approximately 4,000 associates – more than half our global workforce.  Difficult decisions are a part of today’s business environment. To be a viable company that contributes to economic growth, we must meet customers’ needs with high-quality products at competitive prices. We work diligently to do this while making responsible decisions for the people and partners who depend on this company and its long-term health.