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Steelworker's Self-Reliance Ends When Job Moved to Mexico
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By: Teri Bernstein

 

 a different company (Carrier) announces that it is moving jobs to Mexico

 

Rexnord Corporation has employed 43-year old Sharon Mulcahy in a plant manufacturing industrial-use bearings for over seventeen years. She'd dealt with sexual harassment and physically demanding job tasks to keep a job that gave her security and standing, in spite of many difficulties in her personal life. But the plant is closing, and 300 workers like Mulcahy will lose their jobs. Like many of the 67% of American adults who do not have a college degree, the future is uncertain. In a changing economy where goods can be manufactured more cheaply and with less regulation elsewhere, manufacturing jobs are disappearing. Short term profits trump the long term reputation for quality that used to be a hallmark of American production. 

 

If a company has an economic reason to move its manufacturing operations overseas (or across the border), should they be allowed to if Americans will suffer?

 

There is no checkpoint asking that question. Sharon Mulcahy is losing her job to cheaper Mexican workers. 

Has government done its due diligence? There are many opinions on that question.

 

Source: "Becoming a Steelworker Liberated Her. Then Her Job Moved to Mexico." by Farah Stockman, New York Times, October 14, 2017. 

 

Discussion: 

  • Read the article and several of the linked comments to the article. Taking into account the various viewpoints, what do you see as a solution at this point? What could have been done earlier? Is there a role for government in maintaining business entities in the U.S.?
  • Research the building and closing of various factories in Asia and elsewhere by Nike and Apple. Comment on how these stories relate to the U.S. Steelworker story.
  • Do you think there is a compromise position for the U.S. and American workers? If so, please delineate it