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Workers rally outside Rexnord plant; union leader praises Trump’s TPP withdrawal

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)–Dozens of Rexnord workers rallied outside the westside plant Monday.

The company plans to move more than 300 local jobs to Mexico. Layoffs are scheduled to begin next month.

Workers lined up on Rockville Road on Rexnord’s front lawn. They said their rally was not just for Rexnord employees, but all American workers.

“With all this support out here, with everybody honking, it kind of uplifts you a little bit and puts hope in everybody’s heart,” Rexnord worker, Ron Garrigus said.

The United Steelworkers 1999 union, which represents Rexnord workers, applied for federal benefits to help workers find jobs and education. Local union leader Chuck Jones said if the workers find new jobs, they will likely be forced to take a pay cut.

“We’re trying to get the message out to other companies that are leaving that they’re not going to be able to do it without us fighting to keep the jobs in America,” Jones said.

President Trump took executive action Monday to withdraw the U.S. from the Trans Pacific Partnership. Jones and other union leaders have long criticized the trade deal, saying it’s bad for American workers.

“If the TPP would have went through, that would have allowed them to do business with other companies that pay a lot less than Mexico,” Jones said. “I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

Rexnord workers are hoping Trump will go to bat for them again, this time to convince Rexnord to stay.

“People need to wake up and realize that middle class and manufacturing is what makes America great,” Garrigus said.

Garrigus and other workers hoisted signs Monday reading “keep it made in America.” When the sun set on the Rexnord plant, they laid out a light display with those five words.

“If it’s not gonna save our jobs, it might save somebody else’s down the road,” Garrigus said. “We just gotta keep the fight going.”

Rexnord workers will be eligible for a severance package that includes up to $2,000 dollars.

A 24-Hour News 8 reporter emailed Rexnord’s corporate team Monday and asked if there’s any chance of the company keeping the jobs in Indiana. No one responded to the email.