The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that General Electric Company will close its massive refrigerator plant in Bloomington by the end of 2009, displacing about 900 employees. Apparently, the Bloomington operation lost about $45 million last year, thanks to declining side-by-side refrigerator sales and rising material and labor costs.
Kent Suiters, the plant manager said that despite continued investment by the company and hard work by the union leadership and GE employees, they can no longer effectively compete. Effectively compete against what or who? Could it be that this is another example of corporations sending their work to other countries to reap ever-wider profit margins?
The union that represents the plant’s 837 hourly employees will have a limited amount of time to offer competitive alternatives to the closure. A final decision on the closing of the 1 million-square-foot plant will be made after those talks. The shutdown would wipe out 1 percent of the total work force in the Bloomington area and 8.7 percent of workers in the area who make durable goods – refrigerators and other products expected to last at least three years.
The last few years have been rough for GE employees in Indiana. In March 2005, the company laid off 470 workers at the Bloomington refrigerator plant, leaving about 1,000 employees. At a later date, the company said it planned to let go of 365 of its 750 employees at an electric motors and transformers plant in Fort Wayne.
But, what will probably happen is that Daniels will hop up on his magic podium and announce more jobs for the year 2011 – that three-year stretch that he seems to favor. Daniels seems to know how to manipulate the media to make it look like he is doing so much for Indiana when all the while we are losing jobs that may not be replaced for years. Sure won’t do the GE workers any good.