Hogsett rebrands Carrier Task Force to include Rexnord as job losses loom

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett called for a “rebranding” of a task force designed to help workers with Carrier who will lose their jobs when the company moves operations to Mexico.

The group will now be rechristened the Carrier/Rexnord Task Force after the city learned that hundreds of workers on the city’s west side could lose their jobs, likely by April. While the Rexnord move isn’t a done deal, Hogsett said the city had to prepare for the possibility that those jobs would move south of the border.

Hogsett used a mayoral executive order to create the group, which was originally designed to aid Carrier employees. The task force has been meeting regularly to secure local, state and federal resources for employees.

Last week, Hogsett learned about the possible Rexnord move that would affect hundreds of workers. The story is a familiar one: the company can pay workers in Mexico a much lower wage. U.S. workers make an average of $24 an hour at the west side Rexnord Indianapolis plant; the company would pay workers in Mexico $3 an hour.

Hogsett said he learned about Rexnord’s plans on Twitter.

During a news conference Wednesday, Hogsett said Rexnord’s move wasn’t final yet and that he was “cautiously optimistic” that the jobs would stay in Indy. He offered to fly to Milwaukee to meet with the company’s president and make his case for Rexnord to keep the jobs at the west side plant. He admitted that the company’s president hasn’t “booked his flight” but said the company was taking his proposal seriously.

“I am confident that we will continue to make progress on behalf of the families that we are honored to serve,” Hogsett said of the task force.

“What Indianapolis does better than any other place in this country is join together in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration that, frankly, can tackle any challenge that is in our path.”

Hogsett said the task force has a full-time economic recovery coordinator to help employees and their families. The employee’s salary is paid for in part by a federal grant.

Carrier became a national talking point in the race for the White House, with Donald Trump mentioning the company numerous times throughout his campaign. Hillary Clinton has also mentioned the company in campaign speeches.

Carrier created a stir in February when it announced that 1,400 workers would lose their jobs as the company outlined plans to move operations south of the border.

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