This week's winner is beginning a plant expansion which will create 1,500 construction jobs and add 20 permanent jobs after completion; this week's loser is receiving huge backlash after announcing it will shut down a 1,400-worker factory to move production to Mexico.
Shell Chemical LP is expanding its Geismar, LA. plant, which is scheduled to open in 2018. The $717 million expansion will make the 800-acre complex the world's largest producer of alpha olefins, a group of chemicals used for various consumer and industrial products, such as packaging plastics, synthetic lubricants, drilling fluids and household detergents.
The expansion will also create jobs in the region, 20 of which will be permanent and will include average salaries of about $104,000 a year. The move takes place while maintaining the 650 jobs already at the complex.
This is good news for Royal Dutch Shell, whose other branches have struggled with dropping oil prices and profit losses leading to job cuts in the other parts of the company.
United Steelworkers Local 1999 president Chuck Jones met with Carrier Corp. executives this week to try to pressure the company into reversing their recent decision to shut down their Indianapolis factory, to no avail.
The decision to move production to Mexico will result in 1,400 workers losing their jobs at the plant. The move will take place over a three-year period beginning next year, executives said.
The news received considerable backlash, especially during a time when the manufacturing industry is struggling and people praise companies who emphasize American manufacturing, rather than moving toward offshoring for cheaper labor. Presidential candidate Donald Trump commented on the news, saying he would impose taxes on the company because of their decision to move production out of the states, emphasizing his opposition to international trade deals that he feels harm the economy.
Many critics were also quick to point out that Carrier received $5.1 million in tax credits in 2013 to expand production in the Indianapolis factory. The company had also agreed to a multi-million dollar expansion for the plant in 2011, for which the city provided a six-year tax abatement, saving the company approximately $1 million in city property taxes. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett vowed to make the company "honor their commitments" or pay the money back, according to a local news affiliate.
A video of the workers' emotional reactions in Indianapolis following the announcement went viral last week. Take a look: