The Ford Motor Company's announcement today that it plans to sell or close its eastside Indianapolis steering gear plant by 2008 could put 2,200 auto workers out of a job. And that's not counting the ripple effect of job losses among the plant's auto parts suppliers in Indiana. That will essentially erase the job gains the state expects to make from the new Honda plant in Greensburg.
Unfortunately, this seems to be the pattern in Indiana. Every gain the state makes in the manufacturing sector is offset by layoffs and closing at older manufacturing facilities. This is reflected in Indiana's unemployment rate, which has been consistently running higher than the national average as of late.
The HOnda pickup, like the southwest Indiana Toyota jobs, are apparently going to be state of the art automotive technology.
Ford, and GM-Chrysler, have been caught like pipeline companies and electric utilities--reaping profits in the post-Reagan era, and failing to properly invest in a different kind of workforce, and a different kind of mechanization.
Ford's current moves are troublesome, but gutsy.
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