Donnelly to introduce legislation to protect U.S. jobs

By Shelby Mullis
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Brian Reed started working at Rexnord, an industrial supplier 24 years ago when he was 21 years old. Aiming for the American dream, the Indianapolis father said he dedicated himself to his duties at the plant.

Brian Reed, a former Rexnord employee of 24 years, talks about the emotion he felt when he got the call his company was moving to Mexico. Reed is a supporter of Donnelly's legislation to keep jobs in America. Photo by Taylor Brown, TheStatehouseFile.com

Brian Reed, a former Rexnord employee of 24 years, talks about the emotion he felt when he got the call his company was moving to Mexico. Reed is a supporter of Donnelly’s legislation to keep jobs in America. Photo by Taylor Brown, TheStatehouseFile.com

Now, Reed is one of thousands of Hoosiers expected to lose their jobs. Reed received a phone call from the president of the local Rexnord, notifying him of the decision to close down the factory and send their jobs to Monterrey, Mexico.

“You go in at five o’clock in the morning and come home at five o’clock in the evening,” Reed said. “You spend more time with the people you work with than the people you love, and you’re helping raise. It’s devastating.”

Joined by Reed and two other Indiana factory workers from across the state, U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, announced at a news conference Friday that he proposing legislation that would keep Reed’s job and others in the country.

“There is an American promise: If a company does well, and we make good profits and we make good products, then in return I get a chance to have a decent job, be able to put a roof over my head, take care of my kids and live the American dream,” Donnelly said.

While he thanked President-elect Donald Trump’s efforts to keep some jobs at the Indianapolis Carrier plant, Donnelly wants more to be done.

Donnelly said his legislation is based on three values: federal contracts, tax break forfeits and bringing jobs back.

“As a first step, federal contracts, which are funded by taxpayers, should go to companies that employ American workers,” Donnelly said.

The legislation would require companies to identify on a federal contract whether they laid off American jobs and jobs were outsourced. If so, the company could face up to a 10 percent penalty for their action.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, said jobs should stay here in America. Frank Staples and Brian Reed who lost their jobs because of outsourcing said they are thankful for Donnelly's efforts to keep jobs in the states. Photo by Taylor Brown, TheStatehouseFile.com

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, said jobs should stay here in America. Frank Staples and Brian Reed who lost their jobs because of outsourcing said they are thankful for Donnelly’s efforts to keep jobs in the states. Photo by Taylor Brown, TheStatehouseFile.com

“Number two, companies that ship jobs to foreign countries, we should forfeit the tax breaks they got,” he said. “Third, federal policy should encourage companies to bring jobs back to America.”

Donnelly sent a letter to Trump regarding the legislation and requesting that the two work together to continue to keep jobs in the United States.

Meanwhile, Donnelly has met with Reed and other Hoosiers to learn their needs

“I hope everybody takes into consideration the middle class is what keeps America going,” Reed said. “If they continue to eliminate us, it’ll be the richest versus the poorest. We’re all going to end up on the short end of the stick.”

Shelby Mullis is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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