Greenhouse_In+Indiana,+Centerpiece+For+a+City+Closes+Shop_NYT+6.19.10

Greenhouse_In+Indiana,+Centerpiece+For+a+City+Closes+Shop_NYT+6.19.10

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In Indiana, Centerpiece For a City Closes Shop New York Times, The (NY) - Sunday, June 20, 2010 Author: STEVEN GREENHOUSE EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Having seen her father make a solid living at the Whirlpool refrigerator factory, Natalie Ford was enthusiastic about landing a job there and was happy years later when her 20-year-old son also went to work there. But that family tradition will soon end because Whirlpool plans to close the plant on Friday and move the operation to Mexico, eliminating 1,100 jobs here. Many in this city in southern Indiana are seething and sad -- sad about losing what was long the city's economic centerpiece and a ticket to the middle class for one generation after another. "This is all about corporate greed," said Ms. Ford, who took a job at Whirlpool 19 years ago. "It's devastating to our family and to everyone in the plant. I wonder where we'll be two years or four years from now. There aren't any jobs here. How is this community going to survive?" At a time when the nation's economy is struggling to gain momentum, Whirlpool's decision is an unwelcome step backward. It continues a trend in which the nation has lost nearly six million factory jobs over the past dozen years, representing one in three manufacturing jobs. Connie Brasel, who earned $18.44 an hour making thermal liners for the refrigerators, sees Whirlpool's move as a betrayal not just of the workers but also of the United States. "This country made Whirlpool what it is," she said. "They didn't get world-class quality because they had the best managers. They got world-class quality because of the U.S. and because of their workers. And now they want to pack up and move to Mexico. I find it offensive." Whirlpool has operated the plant since 1956, and at the factory's peak in 1973 it employed nearly 10,000 workers. Ms. Brasel was hired 17 years ago, after holding a string of minimum-wage jobs. "I felt
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Greenhouse_In+Indiana,+Centerpiece+For+a+City+Closes+Shop_NYT+6.19.10

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