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Union: Firm hit by Trump reaches Indiana severance deal

December 16, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A manufacturer criticized by President-elect Donald Trump for its plans to close an Indianapolis plant and move about 300 jobs to Mexico has reached a severance agreement with the plant’s workers, some of whom are still hoping Trump can save their jobs, a union leader said Friday.

United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones said Milwaukee-based Rexnord Corp. and the union local reached an agreement Thursday that “provides some certainty and benefits” to the workers slated to lose their jobs at the Indianapolis bearings plant.

But Jones urged company executives to reconsider the plant’s impending closure, calling the move a “heartless” decision.

“Most will not be fortunate enough to find employment paying the wages and benefits at Rexnord,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, Rexnord said it had reached a “final agreement” with the union. Jones said he had no knowledge of any direct talks between Trump and the company.

The agreement provides the plant’s workers with $2,000 in severance pay — $500 of which they will receive by the end of December, Jones said. The workers will get the remaining $1,500 when they lose their jobs and also receive one week of pay for every year they’ve spent with the company. The deal’s other provisions include six months of medical, dental and vision insurance at no cost.

Rexnord’s facility is near Carrier Corp., which Trump criticized during his election campaign for its plans to close its Indianapolis plant where workers make air conditioners and furnaces and move 1,400 jobs to Mexico.

After Trump revealed on Twitter that he had contacted Carrier to negotiate, the president-elect and Vice President-elect Gov. Mike Pence on Dec. 1 touted Trump’s role in Carrier’s decision to reverse about 800 of the planned job cuts at its Indianapolis plant.

Trump later took to Twitter to rip Rexnord’s plans to move to Mexico. It isn’t clear whether Trump intends to keep personally intervening in corporate decisions.

Jones said some plant workers “are still hoping and thinking maybe that President-elect Trump might get involved” to try to keep the Rexnord jobs in Indianapolis.

“We haven’t given up the fight to keep these jobs in the country, but as far as really being optimistic about that, I don’t think anybody is,” he said Friday.

In its statement, Rexnord officials provided no details of what it said was “a final agreement” with the union local over the plant’s upcoming closure. The statement said the layoffs would be completed between April and June 2017.

“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,” the company said in its statement.

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