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Whirlpool to close Indiana center, move work to Michigan

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Whirlpool Corp. announced Monday it plans to shut down the last of its operations in a southern Indiana city, a plant that employed more than 1,500 workers a few years ago.

Whirlpool said it would close its Refrigeration Product Development Center in Evansville by the end of 2014 and consolidate the center's work at facilities near the company's Benton Harbor, Mich., headquarters. Whirlpool expects to spend about $18 million on renovations and equipment.

Whirlpool had about 230 employees at the Evansville center last year when it agreed to return state tax incentives for not meeting job-retention commitments.

Some Evansville employees might be given the chance to relocate to Michigan, the Evansville Courier & Press and WFIE-TV reported.

"This decision was difficult and in no way reflects on the quality of work in Evansville or the support from the local community or the state of Indiana," Whirlpool spokesman Kristine Vernier said.

Whirlpool's refrigerator plant in Evansville had about 1,100 employees when it was closed in 2010 and its production work was shifted to Mexico. The company had cut about 300 jobs from the factory in the two previous years.

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  • can't read
    At Stephen, no moving jobs top Mexico as the article states is not overseas but it's not in Indiana. Neither is Michigan
  • Whirlpool
    The real truth is that the greedy unions drove the cost of doing business out of Indiana and off to Mexico and Tennessee with just a small group going to Michigan. Many companies have found that there are thousands of productive workers happy to be employed in the south. The unions have become the scourge of the nation and the sum total of the reason for the depletion of our manufacturing jobs. They are as unamerican as communist china and reek of a socialist structure where only a few are lapped in luxury while the others get the scraps. See you in Tennessee!
  • Mixed Emotions.
    I hate to see that Indiana is losing valuable manufacturing jobs, but at least those jobs are not moving off shore. That's a plus.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

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