Goshen, Ind., elected officials and employees say they will work their hardest to find a way the city can help Cequent Towing Products employees, but finding a solution might be difficult.
The Goshen News reported that parent company TriMas Corp. recently announced a preliminary recommendation to shut the Goshen facility, moving production lines to Reynosa, Mexico, according to a company statement. While it’s not a final decision, employees expect to hear the outcome by late November, according to the statement.
Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman and Dorinda Heiden-Guss, director of the Elkhart Economic Development Corp., are working to schedule a meeting with Cequent officials.
“I don’t know if there is anything we can do,” Kauffman said Wednesday (Oct. 24), adding he is certainly willing to try to help retain the jobs.
Heiden-Guss said it is a wage and benefits issues and as soon as she heard the news about the closure plans Friday she went to the plant to meet with company officials and was referred to other executives to arrange a future meeting. She believes that meeting will occur soon.
“Your heart does bleed for (Cequent employees),” Kauffman said. “These aren’t high-paying jobs anyway.”
He also expressed frustration with TriMas. He said the company had a good profit in 2011. He said of the planned move to Mexico, “I think it’s to drive the wages down and the profit up.”
The city’s most likely way of reclaiming anything against Cequent is through property tax phase-ins, according to city attorney Larry Barkes, who spoke at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The City Council approved two property tax phase-ins for the company over the past seven years, both for equipment improvements.
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