About 150 people gathered in Newton this morning for a rally to show their rancor towards Maytag. Many made a long drive from Galesburg, Illinois, where Maytag has decided to close a refrigerator plant, putting 16-hundred people out of work, and moving production to Mexico. Forty-one-year-old Mike Smith of Avon, Illinois, had a message for Maytag managers: “try not to screw the other workers.” Thirty-year-old Darren Dunphy is a student at Knox College in Galesburg who has friends and relatives who’re losing their jobs. He says it’s going to destroy the town and he wants to show support and oppose corporate greed. Twenty-six-year-old Wendy Smith of Newton was at the rally to show support for the Galesburg workers. Smith is worried about the future of the Maytag operation in Newton, as she says if it happens in Galesburg, it can happen in Newton.Twenty-year-old Randy Colwell, a junior at Knox College, missed the bus and paid 250 dollars for a cab ride from Galesburg to Newton. He says he wants to let the corporate Maytag people know they’re hurting people. Forty-one-year-old Doug Denison has worked at the Galesburg plant for 20 years and is a union leader.Jim Repace, a leader in the International Electrical Workers Union at the Hoover plant in North Canton, Ohio, told the crowd it’ll take federal legislation to keep American companies from opening more factories in other countries. Repace says all American workers are in this fight together. He says it’s time for workers to start electing politicians who’ll fight for the cause. Rally organizer Aaron Kemp of Galesburg says today’s rally wasn’t a last ditch effort, but the “start of the war.”Many at the rally carried American flags and called Maytag “unpatriotic” because production from the soon-to-be-closed Galesburg plant will be shifted to Mexico.
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