Carrier employees protest layoffs outside west side factory

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 23, 2016) - The fight to keep 1,400 jobs in Indy took to the streets Wednesday. Hundreds of people protested outside of the Carrier plant on Indy’s west side. Many were members of the local United Steel Workers Union.

“I feel like they’re taking from my family, they’re taking from the community, they’re taking from my members,” said Donnie Knox, a 13-year Carrier employee.

“CEOs getting millions in their pockets,” said Robert Johnson, a 17-year Carrier employee.

“Now you done just got to the point where you’re just greedy and you just want to make more? How much is enough?” he asked.

Hundreds made themselves known feet from the Carrier plant where 1,400 Hoosiers will be laid off by 2019. The United Steel Workers Union organized Wednesday’s protest in an attempt to keep every last job in Indy.

“It’s just corporate greed. They had over $7 billion in sales since 2015. They’re moving to Mexico to save $70 million. Do the math, do they need it?” asked Mike Millsap, District Director for the United Steel Workers Union of Indiana and Illinois.

Carrier’s parent company United Technologies profits billions of dollars every year. The company cited costs though as the reason for moving 2,100 Indiana jobs over the border (700 additional jobs will be eliminated at a plant in Northern Indiana). Employees at Carrier’s Indy facility make on average $22 per hour. In Mexico, workers can make as little as $24 per day.

Retired Carrier employee Tim Spillman said he was embarrassed to associate himself with his former company.

“That’s all the shareholders and United Technology are thinking about is just more and more money,” he said.

But is it possible, even now to save these jobs headed south?

“It certainly doesn’t appear as if the company is even willing to discuss it,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett (D – Indianapolis).

“They have a sense of betrayal and I don’t blame them; the truth is that it’s sad to see 1,400 jobs leave any community,” said Hogsett.

The move has stolen the attention of presidential candidates. Carrier has been mentioned in debated by both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Union officials say at an April 29 rally against Carrier, either of the candidates may make an appearance.