A company's plans to close a 450-worker trailer-hitch manufacturing factory in northern Indiana and move the work to Mexico has frustrated and angered local officials.
Many workers from the Cequent Performance Products factory in Goshen packed a city council meeting this week to push city officials into trying to keep the plant open.
The company told workers about its plans to close the factory last week, although company spokesman Alan Upchurch told The Goshen News that a final decision isn't expected until next month.
"The increasingly competitive global market is forcing customers to demand the lowest cost products," Upchurch said. "... In addition, a move would lower shipping costs because many customers and potential customers have assembly plants in Mexico and the southern U.S."
Upchurch said if Cequent Performance, a subsidiary of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based TriMas Corp., decided to close the Goshen factory, it would likely take much of 2013 to complete.
United Steel Workers official Mike O'Brien said the union expected to meet with company executives next week to discuss the closing plans.
"They are getting the rug pulled out from under them after they have contributed so greatly to the company's success," O'Brien told WSBT-TV. "This is not a plant that is losing money."
Officials in the city about 25 miles southeast of South Bend aren't sure whether they can do anything to change the company's mind about closing the factory.
"A lot of people there have been working there for quite a while," City Councilman Jeremy Stutsman said. "It's always sad when you lose jobs in your town, but it's even worse when it goes to another country."
Mayor Allan Kauffman said TriMas is a profitable company and the closing decision was a big hit to the workers.
"These aren't high-paying jobs anyway," Kauffman said. "... I think it's to drive the wages down and the profit up."