Whirlpool Rally in Evansville, IN by Ohio AFL-CIO on Flickr

After a valiant effort by the Evansville community to save the jobs of more than 1,000 people, Whirlpool is moving unabated in shutting down the operations of its Indiana plant – starting today.

Union officials say Friday was the last day for 465 workers at the plant. Whirlpool announced last year that it would shut down the 1,100-worker refrigerator factory and move production to Mexico.

A few dozen union members held protest signs in the rain Thursday along U.S. 41 outside the plant. Worker Danny Rowe said he hoped their presence reminded others about the number of jobs leaving the country.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka led 1500 people in a march earlier this year to protest the move to Mexico.  The plant, which currently employs 1100 people, will shut down by the end of June.

This marks yet another entry in the long record of American companies killing American jobs in search of cheap labor.  And for what?  A 77% raise for its CEO, plus $19 million in stimulus funds.

Even as Whirlpool is forcing workers to the unemployment line and the plant’s closing is sending economic shockwaves through the Evansville community, CEO and Chairman Jeff Fettig won’t have to worry about covering his rent.

Earlier this month, the Dow Jones News Wire reported that his 2009 compensation rose 77 percent.

Fettig’s salary, incentive-based pay, executive perks, and stock and options awards amounted to $10.81 million, up from $6.11 million in 2008, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchanges Commission….The company’s net income fell 21.5 percent from 2008, while sales slipped 9.56 percent. But Fettig received $3.5 million in nonequity incentive pay, up from $420,000 the year before.

Whirlpool also received $19 million as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to build more energy efficient and green appliances. But it is spending $110 million to build a new plant in Mexico.

In other news: way to go, GOP, for continuing to deny jobless Americans unemployment benefits.