Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

November 25, 2012

Employees at Cequent deserved more respect

Happy Thanksgiving. By the way, you’re fired.

That was essentially the message for roughly 450 employees at Cequent Performance Products in Goshen this past Wednesday afternoon. After weeks of speculation following the haunting recommendation from executives at Cequent’s parent company — TriMas out of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. — to move the Goshen jobs to Mexico, the final decision was officially announced by plant manager Rich Brown during a shift change.

TriMas officials didn’t even have the guts to come down here personally and inform these hard-working employees they were taking away their jobs. They left that dirty little task to a plant manager who had nothing to do with this decision. That’s just disrespectful and cowardly.

What is the message here? Where is the sense of responsibility to community and country? Is money all that matters? What TriMas officials are telling us is that corporate profits matter more than human lives and the prosperity of this nation. That may sound dramatic, but what other rationale is there? Labor is cheaper in Mexico. Many U.S. workers have union protection and living wage standards. In this sad circumstance it is clear that people are numbers and numbers count when it’s time to add up the profits.

We understand the responsibility TriMas has to its shareholders. Maximizing profits is part of that responsibility. But this isn’t a case of a struggling company or industry that has to make cuts in order to continue. Cequent was making TriMas money, according to the company’s latest quarterly report. Obviously it wasn’t enough and 450 people here in Goshen will soon be looking for work. Please excuse us if we take that personally. It feels like a slap in the face to us. We can hardly imagine what it feels like to each Cequent employee who is working to pay the rent, feed their children and even pay their tithes.

Why would executives at TriMas care about any of that? There’s more money to be made south of the border and that trumps all. If we’re wrong about that we’d certainly invite a representative of TriMas to set us straight in this very space, in this community newspaper.

Please, TriMas, we’ll give you all the space you need within reason. Shed that cloak of anonymity and explain to us, eye to eye, how you’re right and we’re not just inadequate numbers on your balance sheet. Tell us how our American values are not detrimental to your corporate math. Please, tell us yourselves, without sending out your plant manager to do it.

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Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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