Rexnord Finalizes Plans To Move Indianapolis Jobs To Mexico
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
One of the places Trump has focused on is Indianapolis. He took credit for preventing a Carrier plant there from moving some jobs to Mexico.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Just over a mile away from Carrier, workers at the Rexnord plant make ball bearings. That company announced in October that it, too, is moving operations to Mexico. They did not get Trump's intervention. John Feltner is a machinist at the Rexnord plant. He is one of many who will soon be out of a job.
JOHN FELTNER: Roughly, we've got 350 people - union and nonunion. They're all scheduled to leave except for, I think, a few clerical jobs will stay.
SHAPIRO: As I understand it, you make $25 an hour.
FELTNER: Yes, sir.
SHAPIRO: And according to the Indianapolis Star newspaper, which told your story, the workers in Mexico doing this job are going to make $3 an hour. When you've got that dramatic difference in pay, can you blame Rexnord for trying to save money by relocating to Mexico?
FELTNER: Well, I look at it like this. Rexnord was very profitable here. When we make a great product here, and our product is sought after because it's made here. These people are highly skilled. To chase cheap labor, that's the bottom line. That's the bottom line - is what they're doing.
SHAPIRO: Do you think there are steps the president can take to stop companies like Rexnord from doing this?
FELTNER: Yeah, you mean - he's talked about taxes and border taxes and tariffs.
SHAPIRO: I understand you voted for President Trump. Are you still a supporter of his policies on the whole?
FELTNER: On the whole, yeah. I mean, do I agree with everything he's doing? No, but I don't know anybody that does agree with - wholeheartedly with a single politician.
SHAPIRO: He recently described the Republican Party as the party of the American worker. Is that how you see it, as well?
FELTNER: You know, as a whole, no, but I don't see any party being for the American worker. You've got to understand that Trump - he was the only one really talking about jobs, and that resonated with the working man.
SHAPIRO: Do you think that this administration's policies will make it easier for you to find a new job in the future?
FELTNER: Right now, the new job and a future plan - you know what needs to make a good living wage - you know, the prospects aren't great. I drive an hour from my home to get here, and the prospect of making even close to this money is not feasible.
SHAPIRO: So how are you thinking about what lies ahead for you?
FELTNER: I don't know what lies ahead for me. That's probably the most scariest part.
SHAPIRO: You're in your 40s?
FELTNER: I'm 47.
SHAPIRO: You've got a lot of good working years left in you. What would your dream be?
FELTNER: My dream's pretty simple. I mean, I just want to be able to pay my bills and live what I think is comfortably. I've got two kids in college and just recently become a grandfather, and I just want to be able to support my family.
SHAPIRO: Well, John Feltner, thank you for the time and good luck to you.
FELTNER: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: John Feltner is a machinist who's preparing to be laid off from his job at the Rexnord plant in Indianapolis. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.