Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

October 29, 2012

Cequent workers stage protest in Goshen

GOSHEN — “Keep our jobs in America!” shouted one angry Cequent worker, a member of the local United Steelworkers union.

“Made in the U.S.A.!” shouted another.

Drivers honked their vehicles and members of the community shouted their support as Cequent Performance Products workers picketed along U.S. 33 near the entrance to the plant Monday afternoon.

Local union vice president Deb Hathaway said the picketers —  and Cequent workers in general — have felt the support of the community ever since Cequent’s parent company, TriMas, announced Oct. 18 that the production lines at the Goshen plant may move to Reynosa, Mexico, putting around 450 jobs in jeopardy.

“This means a lot to have their support,” Hathaway said. “This doesn’t just impact the 450 workers here at Cequent — it impacts the whole community.”

Many of the picketers have worked for Cequent for several years. Mark Schmanski has worked for the company for nearly 20 years. He said he’s never missed a day of work.

“I was shocked for the first couple of days after I heard (the announcement),” Schmanski said. “Now I’m angry. This building has made millions and millions and millions for this company. I would understand moving the jobs if this was not profitable, but this is just about greed.”

Schmanski said no one from TriMas came down to the plant to tell the workers, but rather someone from the plant’s management made the announcement.

Employees weren’t the only ones on the picket lines Monday. Brendan Mullen, the Democratic candidate for Indiana’s U.S. District 2 House seat, was at the protest alongside USW workers.

“I’m here today because we need to keep Hoosier jobs here,” Mullen said. “For this company with such extraordinary profits to ship jobs overseas is unacceptable.”

Picketer Ed Christie said he has worked for Cequent for nearly 19 years, and his family depends heavily on his income from Cequent. The announcement of the plant’s potential closure was also a shock to him.

“I felt blindsided,” he said. “But I also feel like I knew something was up. The company has seemed evasive for a while.”

Complete with a sign and a loud voice, Christie seemed a through-and-through union man Monday afternoon. He said this is normally not the case, but he felt the need to stand with his fellow employees Monday.

“This is a complete switch. I’m normally not a union person,” Christie said. “But I felt like I needed to stand as one voice with the rest of these people. I’m not against the company — this is about us wanting to be acknowledged. I know at a corporate level, they’re going to make choices based on a balance sheet. They just wouldn’t have those numbers on the balance sheet without us.

“It’s not because we’re not doing our jobs. It’s that they can get more money in Mexico,” he continued. “... I think the quality of product will decline.”

While TriMas’ announcement called the potential move to Mexico a “preliminary recommendation,” with a final announcement coming sometime in November, many employees don’t see a way the company will stay in Goshen. According to TriMas spokesperson Alan Upchurch, the company will announce when it has made a formal decision. No other statements have been made available at this time.

Steven Medford is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Medford said the steadiest employment he’s seen since he left the Army has been his last two years at Cequent, but he’s afraid that’s coming to an end.

“I think it’s wrong,” he said. “They make enough money off of us, how can they put so many people out of work? My first comment after I heard was, ‘I’m going to lose everything,’ because I have three kids in Texas with their mother, and I send them support and have my house here.

“If I lose my job, I’ll lose everything. I don’t think (TriMas) will keep the jobs here, but we can at least say we tried,” he said, looking around to the other picketers.

National United Steelworkers Union District 7 Sub-District Director Mike O’Brien said he spoke with Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman Monday afternoon. Kauffman understands where the union members are coming from, O’Brien said.

“The mayor is sympathetic to our position,” he said. “He understands the issues very well, but, to be frank, I don’t know how much pressure he can exert on a huge corporation. We’re going to do everything we can to keep those jobs in Goshen.”

O’Brien, who helped initially organize the local USW union, said he hopes people learn from this.

“The people making these decisions must have never read Charles Dickens,” O’Brien said. “It’s like ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and making these announcements right before Christmas is a little bit like Ebenezer Scrooge.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Fresh shrimp business approved GOSHEN — Finding fresh shrimp in Elkhart County just got a little easier.

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS GN140822 john hertzel (2) John Hertzler relishes role with Goshen Historical Society GOSHEN — Visitors to the Goshen Historical Society’s museum might not know John Hertzler is there, tucked back in an office beyond the rows of historic documents, photographs and artifacts.

    August 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lifelong Learning fall courses announced GOSHEN — The Lifelong Learning Institute of Elkhart County is offering fall courses. These short courses are designed to provide stimulating and affordable classes in many fields for active seniors. There are no tests or grades, and no previous studies or degrees are required.

    August 21, 2014

  • South Ninth Street area under boil water order South Ninth Street, between East Jackson and Franklin streets in Goshen, is under a boil water order from noon until further notice.

    August 21, 2014

  • GN140821 Pike Street Project 2 INDOT meeting held to discuss Pike Street project GOSHEN — Major changes may be on the way for a small section of Pike Street in downtown Goshen.

    August 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0821 goshen college challenge Locals embrace ice bucket challenge It’s a challenge that has united participants with the shared sensation of an icy burst of water, sopping wet clothing and video evidence — all in the name of philanthropy.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 nisly complaint Complaint filed against state rep candidate Accusations of wrongdoing, in the form of a complaint to the Indiana Election Commission, have been levied against District 22 representative Republican nominee Curt Nisly.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140820 dometic groundbreaking Dometic breaks ground on significant expansion in Goshen GOSHEN — As Dometic officials gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $7 million expansion of their Goshen distribution center Wednesday, the work was already underway in the background. “It’s happening right now,” said Dave Schutz, vice presi

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140821 Ignition art Plenty of good music on horizon at Ignition Several upcoming shows at Ignition Garage in Goshen were announced this week.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • City plan nearing a final draft GOSHEN — The city’s new comprehensive plan is nearing completion, and a near-final draft has now been released for public review. Goshen Plan Commission members released the draft of the city’s newly penned comprehensive plan, titled “Uncommonly Grea

    August 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
I think those who can afford it should pay for their school meals
I think all students should be required to pay for their school meals
     View Results
AP Video
US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists Ferguson Teachers Training to Deal With Trauma Jon Hamm on the Unrest in Ferguson Tit for Tat? McDonald's Shuttered in Moscow Life on the Professional Video Game Circuit TX Gov Perry in Washington: 'Confident' in Case Hospital Releases Two Missionaries Who Had Ebola Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle NYC Doctor-in-chief Seeks Community Approach Indonesian Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters Raw: Shots Fired in Liberian Shantytown DOJ, Bank of America Reach Record Settlement Raw: Cubavision Airs Images of Fidel Castro Raw: Grief After Deadly Airstrikes in Gaza Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Kathy Griffin Challenges Minaj to 'a Booty Off' Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers