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Donald Trump Targets Second Indiana Plant Over Plans to Shift to Mexico



Donald Trump took aim Friday at a second U.S. manufacturer that plans to move jobs from Indiana to Mexico, a day after he threatened consequences for businesses that shifted American jobs abroad.

“Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers,” Mr. Trump wrote at 10:06 p.m. on Twitter. “This is happening all over our country. No more!”

Rexnord, which is based in Milwaukee, intends to move production of industrial bearings from Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico, according to the employee union. The move, expected by the middle of next year, would eliminate about 300 jobs.

The company, which didn’t respond to requests for comment on Thursday, couldn’t immediately be reached late Friday. Shares of Rexnord have tumbled more than 10% from Wednesday’s close.

On Sunday morning, Mr. Trump sent out seven tweets starting at around 6:45 a.m. ET reaffirming his position that companies that move production offshore and fire workers will face consequences, such as a 35% import tariff.

“There will be a tax on our soon strong to be border of 35% for these companies wanting to sell their product, cars, A.C. units etc., back across the border,” he wrote. “Please be forewarned prior to making a very expensive mistake!”

He encouraged business leaders to explore relocating factories between states and negotiating for tax breaks, encouraging a strategy that some state officials fear will escalate an arms race of incentives.

After criticizing Carrier during his campaign, Mr. Trump on Thursday celebrated a deal with the air conditioner and furnace maker that will keep about 800 jobs in Indiana in exchange for $7 million in tax breaks. Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp., still plans to shift 1,300 jobs from Indiana to Mexico.

Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers local that represents Indianapolis workers at both Carrier and Rexnord, said Friday he was grateful for President-elect Trump’s intervention but he isn’t optimistic other companies will shelve plans to move manufacturing abroad, even if they are offered state or federal incentives.

“There’s not enough taxpayer money to reward companies not to leave the country when we’re competing with $3-an-hour wages in Mexico,” said Mr. Jones. He said Rexnord appears determined to leave and the union is negotiating over severance benefits.

The steelworkers union said Rexnord rejected the union’s proposals for wage freezes and other concessions to lower costs. The union said the hourly wages at the plant, which currently range from $18.82 to $30.81, would have to drop below the U.S. minimum to match the company’s estimated costs savings in Mexico.

Rexnord’s products include ball bearings, industrial chains and gears. It had 7,700 employees, including 4,200 in the U.S., as of March 31.

Deane Dray, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets, said many large industrial companies already have complex global manufacturing networks that aren’t likely to be dismantled under pressure. “These are not U.S.-centric companies,” Mr. Dray said. “They’re manufacturing everywhere.”

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