Becoming a Steelworker Liberated Her. Then Her Job Moved to Mexico.

Courtesy of The New York Times. By FARAH STOCKMAN

INDIANAPOLIS — The man from Mexico followed a manager through the factory floor, past whirring exhaust fans, beeping forklifts, and drilling machines that whined against steel. Workers in safety glasses looked up and stared. Others looked away. Shannon Mulcahy felt her stomach lurch.

It was December 2016. The Rexnord Corporation’s factory still churned out bearings as it always had. Trucks still dropped off steel pipes at the loading dock. Bill Stinnett, a die-hard Indiana Pacers fan, still cut them into pieces. The pieces still went to the “turning” department, where they were honed into rings as small as a bracelet or as big as a basketball. Then to “heat treat,” where Shannon — who loves heavy metal music and abandoned dogs — hardened them with fire. Then to “grinding,” where Shannon’s cousin Lorry Mannix smoothed out any imperfections. And then to “assembly,” where Mark Elliott, a former Marine, joined two rings together, one inside the other, with a wheel of spinning rollers in between. The whole contraption was encased in a cast-iron housing machined by John Feltner, a father of three who’d just recovered from bankruptcy.

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