In Goshen, it looks like the fight to keep hundreds of manufacturing jobs from moving to Mexico could primarily be a legal one.
Some 450 workers at the Cequent Perforance Products have been told that production may be moving to Mexico, and that a final decision was scheduled to be made on or about November 19th.
Today, the union filed for an injunction in federal court, claiming that the company had already started moving equipment and component parts out of the Goshen plant.
“Our view of it is violations of the contract are decided in the grievance or arbitration procedure, but if they move all the equipment out in the meantime, how do I get them to move the equipment back into the plant? That's why we filed for an injunction,” said United Steelworkers Union Sub-District Director Mike O’Brien.
After two negotiating sessions between the union and the company it appears little can be done at the bargaining table to keep the jobs from leaving Goshen. “Some of the people were wondering would we get a reduction in our wages right now, and none of that has been asked and we can't compete with Mexico anyways, they're paying them 98-cents an hour,” said Deb Hathaway, President of United Steelworkers local 9550.
Next week the union is expected to file charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board in the hopes of getting the matter before a federal mediator.
The union believes its contract prevents the production from going anywhere—at least until that contract runs out in March of 2014. “They bargained with us and agreed that they would not contract or outsource work customarily done by our members if it would, if somebody was on layoff or working short hours and this definitely would do that,” said Mike O’Brien.
Today about 60 Cequent workers and their supporters picketed outside the plant. The list of demonstrators included a Cequent sympathizer from Warsaw, Kyle Bruner. “We got to keep the jobs here in America, it’s the only way America is going to recover.”