An American freight company reportedly cashed in on an emergency federal loan last year, only to shut down its stateside manufacturing operations and move to Mexico a few months later.
FreightCar America, a major producer of freight cars for the railway industry, shuttered its last remaining U.S. production site in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, late last summer and shifted production to its facility in Castaños, Mexico. The move reportedly cost 550 American workers their jobs.
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Yet only a few months earlier, the company had received a $10 million Paycheck Protection Program loan — the maximum amount available to businesses as part of a program to help American workers retain their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, ProPublica reported .
The news outlet acknowledged that to some employees, the news didn’t come as a shock, since they had for years heard rumors that management would relocate. But for others, the timing seemed odd.
At least one employee, Robert Bulman, believed the maneuver was a “setup” from the beginning.
“When the Mexican plant opened, we were told at the beginning they would just be helping Shoals and making parts for the trains,” said Bulman, who reportedly worked at the Alabama plant for seven years before getting laid off. “But the whole time, it was a setup, we were gone.”
Another employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told ProPublica, “I went to FreightCar to retire. I wasn’t planning on leaving when I got there.”FreightCar America CEO Jim Meyer reportedly insisted in an email to ProPublica that at the time he […]