MSNBC political commentator Ed Schultz traveled to Newton on Saturday to get a glimpse of what Whirlpool employees in Fort Smith, Ark., can look forward to after the world's largest appliance manufacturer announced last week its plans to close the refrigerator plant there and eliminate about 1,000 jobs.
Schultz announced his intention to travel to Newton during his show on Friday where he took aim at Whirlpool's decision to close the Arkansas plant, as well as slash 5,000 jobs across North America and Europe in order to improve profit margins for shareholders.
What he learned from a group of former Maytag workers after his visit with them Saturday afternoon led Schultz to send a camera crew to the UAW Local 997 union hall in Newton for a live remote telecast as a follow-up to his visit that aired as part of his show Monday evening.
"What do workers in Fort Smith have to look forward to?" Schultz asked Steve Wilcox, who spent 22 years at Maytag before the plant closed in 2007.
"There's a lot of emotional heartache," Wilcox said. "There's a lot of questions about what am I going to do, how am I going to support my family."
Wilcox, who now runs the Smokin' Mississippi Queen barbecue catering service, told Schultz that the worry over the future just "escalates."
"You don't know what you're going to do," he said.
Max Tipton, who spent 41 years at Maytag and held union leadership positions, told Schultz that we are "seeing the end of the American dream."
"What went wrong with Newton was Whirlpool," Tipton said. "Maytag was a wealthy company. It knew how to make the best products on the market."
Then, Tipton said, Whirlpool bought Maytag and announced it would close the plant a year later.
"I don't know that they gave any reason," he said.
Schultz asked Wilcox what he would ask the Republican presidential candidates at the National Association of Manufacturers forum in Pella today.
"Can you help America out?" Wilcox said he would ask.
You can watch the segment of Monday's show, including clips from Schultz's visit on Saturday, here.