A reporter has published a few connected pieces following up with workers at the Rexnord bearing plant that is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. The factory was home to many works, many of whom had worked the position since they left high school. The Rexnord was a place many people found to be an opportunity to work for higher than average pay while mastering new skills there, but it was also very dangerous. Recently, Rexnord announced it was moving its factory to Mexico, meaning many people in Indianapolis would be without a job.
The story began when the reporter reached out and connected with a worker at Rexnord. She told her story of how she had found her job and it was perfect, allowing her to earn a good paycheck after escaping an abusive relationship. Then news came down that the plant was closing and moving to Mexico, what was even worse, the workers were being asked to train their replacements that were taking their jobs. Some agreed to do so. You can read about her story starting here.
Some people have now moved on since the plant closed, lucky to find work in the construction field or at other factories, though they pay was often $10 an hour less than Rexnord had paid them. Shannon, the one who reached out to the reporter first and who’s story has been told the strongest, has yet to find a new job, but due to the articles being featured in the New York Times, she has received cards, photos, messages, money and even a job offer from a wealthy reader at a hotel in Las Vegas.
This story is not unique now, and according to Emily Wornell, an assistant professor at Ball State University, after studying job loss through automation across the country, she believes that the future holds far more stories like this than ever heard before. She believes the next generation or so will witness two thirds or more of jobs becoming automated or outsourced, which means the potential job loss is astronomical. The prime example is Makuta, a company which makes small plastic bits that are used in medical devices and printers, they generally make between 150 and 200 million parts per year but only employ ten people.
The future of jobs in America is certainly scary and places like Indianapolis are mirroring what seems to have happened in Detroit less than a decade ago. While President Trump pushes his agenda and promises jobs are coming back, it seems like the wheels are in motion and this cannot be stopped. The bottom line is the most important part of business, and people are often overlooked when it comes to this. Hopefully, for those who lost their jobs at Rexnord and haven’t found more work, the tides will turn and they can find steady and gainful employment.