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Coats, Donnelly meet with Carrier executive, company still plans to move Indiana jobs to Mexico

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Carrier facility on Feb. 10, 2016

Update (March 10, 2016) — U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement in response to McDonough confirming the corporation is moving jobs to Mexico to take advantage of low wages.

“United Technologies’ decision to move Hoosier jobs to Mexico was based on chasing cheap wages. You don’t need to take my word for it—listen to what company executive Bob McDonough told investors today.  If it’s not clear what McDonough meant when he said, ‘still there’s some opportunity there,’ he’s saying United Technologies isn’t done shipping American jobs overseas.”

WASHINGTON (March 8, 2016) — One week after a tense meeting with Gov. Mike Pence, the president of Carrier’s parent company was in Washington D.C. Tuesday meeting with U.S. Senators Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)

“I wish I could tell you I convinced them to stay in Indiana,” Coats said in an interview with FOX 59. “They’ve made their decision.”

The move will affect about 2,100 jobs in Indianapolis and Huntington.

“They reiterated again that the decision has been made,” Coats said. “I think given that, we need to make the best we can for the benefit of the workers.”

During last week’s meeting with Pence, Robert McDonough, president of climate, controls and security for UTC, Carrier’s parent company, promised to keep 400 separate research and development jobs in Indiana and pay back more than a million dollars in state and local training grants and tax incentives.

In a statement after Tuesday’s meeting, Carrier issued a statement that reads in part:

“Discussions covered the factors that went into Carrier’s plan, including the steady migration of the company’s competitors and suppliers to Mexico, as well as ongoing cost and pricing pressures driven in part by evolving regulatory requirements.

Relocating manufacturing operations is the best way Carrier can remain competitive for the long-term. Even after this transition, Carrier will have more than 6,000 U.S. employees, including 400 headquarters, engineering and marketing jobs that will stay in Indiana.”

The company has publicly cited federal regulations as the reason for the move, an argument Donnelly doesn’t by.

In a statement to FOX 59 after the meeting, he said:

“He also laid out the reasons the profitable company is shipping jobs from Indianapolis and Huntington to Mexico. The primary reason was the company’s desire to reduce costs by taking advantage of $3 per hour labor in Mexico.”

“I don’t buy that narrative that regulation was simply the issue,” Coats said. “There’s a whole range of things that came into their decision making process, but non of it has a happy ending.”

Coats said he demanded the employees and severance pay, which they agreed to. But no agreement has been reached between Carrier and the United Steelworkers, which represents Carrier employees.

Carrier first announced its plans to move to Mexico last month. The transition would begin next year and wrap up in 2019.