(02/08/07 -- JOHNSTON COUNTY) (WTVD) -- Eyewitness News is investigating vanishing jobs in the Triangle area. We've discovered 2007 is shaping up to be a bad year for people in the Triangle. By analyzing a state employment database, we've discovered that nearly a thousand people are losing their jobs to Mexico.
Now, by taking you to the city where those jobs are landing, you may be left wondering how many more jobs will be lost.
"I know my turn is coming," says Rochelle Richardson. She's a mother of three who's watching her money after finding out recently she's one of 200 people getting laid off from Eaton in Selma.
Their jobs making truck switches are going to Mexico. Many of Rochelle's friends are already gone.
"I was like, 'God this is crazy,' it's reality has set in, nobody's here, people are gone," Rochelle says.
During our Eyewitness News Investigation we reviewed state records revealing 265 other people are getting laid-off this year at Siemens in Wendell. 300 people are losing their jobs at GKN in Sanford and 130 at Kidde in Mebane.
There is a total of more than 900 workers in the Triangle area with one thing in common -- their jobs are going to Mexico. "It's been a very, very difficult decision for us," says Rochelle's boss Lou Rosen. He says moving to Mexico is the only way Eaton can stay in business.
"We have three or four major competitors in the market and in the late 1990s they all moved to low cost areas like Mexico or China. So, we really have been putting this off," says Rosen.
To help you understand why so many jobs are leaving North Carolina, we're taking you to Mexico. This is the city of Reynosa. A lot of American companies have factories here. We discovered you can hire ten Mexican workers, for the price of one in North Carolina.
Rochelle's job is being transferred to one of Eaton's four factories in Mexico. The signs outside the factories say "We're hiring."
We also found other factories for companies like Maytag, Nokia and Black & Decker just across the border in Reynosa. The Black & Decker factory in Mexico is home to 675 jobs that used to belong to workers in Fayetteville.
Here's the eye-opening part. When we got off the beaten path, we found the people doing those factory jobs for American companies are living in absolute poverty.
Paula Sanchez and her family of four spent three and a half years living in a one room cardboard shack. She told us water would pour through the roof when it rained and her family used an outhouse to go to the bathroom.
Last summer an American church group built them a one room house with walls, windows and a roof. There's a kitchen sink but no running water and they live by candlelight.
Her husband works in an American factor where people make between 50 and 70 dollars in an entire week.
Their 9-year-old daughter is hoping for a better life. She wants to be a doctor.
Back in Johnston County, Rochelle couldn't believe what we found in Mexico.
"That's sad, that's really sad," says Rochelle, back in Johnston County. When we came back from Mexico, we showed her where her job is going.
"I mean really if you look at that, you really almost don't mind giving them your job," says Rochelle.
As she prepares for her final days at Eaton, she's trying to look on the bright side.
"It gives me a new outlook on life," Rochelle says. "I can go back to school and get an associates degree in something and do something that maybe it won't go to Mexico," she continued.
In part two, we're going to show you the warning signs that'll tell you if your job is in jeopardy and we'll show you what you can do if you think you may lose your job. You'll also see how a North Carolina Congressman is fighting to prevent North Carolina jobs from vanishing.
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