INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says help is on the way for workers affected by the impending relocation of the city’s Carrier plant to Mexico.
During a news conference Monday, Hogsett said the Carrier Task Force has partnered with financial expert Peter Dunn (Pete the Planner) to provide financial literacy workshops for the 1,400 workers who are set to lose their jobs when Carrier’s plant on West Morris Street moves operations to Mexico.
In February, Carrier said layoffs would start in 2017. The West Morris Street plant manufactures heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Hogsett used an executive order to form the task force, which secured $1.2 million from Carrier and its parent company for the workers. The money matched the amount Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies Corporation, accepted as part of a tax incentive program in 2011.
Carrier’s relocation quickly captured national attention, and both presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have condemned the company’s plan to move jobs out of the U.S.
Hogsett said Monday that the task force has made “significant progress” and will work with several institutions to help workers make the transition when their employment with Carrier ends.
“When we see a neighbor in need, as people of this city we step up. We don’t hesitate. We don’t ask what we will receive in return. We rally together as one city, one people,” Hogsett said.
“We will not forget them, and we will not leave them behind. Today is just one more reminder that our city, our community, is dedicated to you and your families, even when your company isn’t.”
The mayor told reporters that Dunn, an Indianapolis native who attended Pike High School, would provide financial planning workshops free of charge.
“His heart truly is in the right place,” Hogsett said.
Dunn will provide workers with a multi-part financial plan during a series of workshops. He said he hopes spouses and significant others would also attend so families would all be on the same page. Hogsett described the plan as “approachable” and “understandable.”
The “Your Money Plan” will focus on several different areas, including meeting financial challenges, identifying opportunities for stabilizing income, preparing for a change in income and budgeting. Other topics will include:
- Benefits continuation
- Housing expenses
- Transportation expenses
- Education expenses
- Money and family
Dunn noted that government officials often show up to announce the opening of a new plant. That’s not always the case when a factory folds.
“Show me the guy who shows up when a factory closes—I got a call from the Mayor’s Office and I was in,” Dunn said.
Dunn said it was a scary time for the 1,400 workers and their families but hopes the workshops will lead to greater things.
“I hope this becomes the springboard for some brilliant careers for a lot of these people. I’m honored to be part of this,” Dunn said.
Dunn said he was immediately interested when the mayor called asking to help. Union president Chuck Jones said the union received several calls from “investment people” that he felt were trying to prey on his workers’ misfortune. He’s happy to have Dunn’s help.
“I think this is the best thing that can happen for (Carrier workers’) benefit,” Jones said. “They can get advice on their severance package, whatever that may be.”
“We’re going to learn a lot and we’re going to spend a lot of time together,” Dunn said of the workshops, which he hopes will start in early fall.
“You can’t put a price on helping people in your community.”
Hogsett said money secured from Carrier and its parent company hasn’t been spent yet because the company is still negotiating severance terms with the union.