INDIANAPOLIS — Layoffs came in waves at Westin Automotive’s Minnesota plant as production shifted to low-wage factories in Asia, ultimately pushing more than 200 U.S. workers — many over age 50 — out of once-reliable jobs.
Despite the move a decade ago, Westin remains a chief supplier of auto parts sold under a brand trademarked by Indiana Senate candidate Mike Braun. Those ties put the Republican in a delicate spot as President Donald Trump vilifies China and other foreign competitors, riling up the GOP base.
Trump’s election in 2016 shifted the political dynamic for Republican business people like Braun seeking public office. Many used to actively downplay the effects of outsourcing or even embrace it, even as socially conservative blue-collar workers in Indiana and other manufacturing-heavy states flocked to the party.