Chuck Jones, Indy union president who drew Donald Trump’s ire, announces plans to retire

Chuck Jones

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The union president who found himself at the center of the Carrier controversy—and squarely in the crosshairs of Donald Trump—plans to retire.

United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones will step down on June 1. Robert James, who’s been vice president for 8 years under Jones, will succeed him.

Jones became a prominent figure when United Technologies Corp. announced plans to move hundreds of jobs from Indiana to Mexico. He criticized the move, accusing Carrier’s parent company of “corporate greed.” Some 2,100 jobs in Indianapolis and Huntington were being eliminated.

Jones told our media partners at the IndyStar that he planned to retire sooner, but the Carrier situation prompted him to stay a little longer. Trump and Mike Pence, then president-elect and vice president-elect, respectively, announced in December that they’d made a deal to keep some of the Carrier jobs in Indianapolis.

At first, Trump and Pence said the deal would save 1,100 jobs, but Jones said they exaggerated the numbers. In his estimation, the deal would save closer to 800 jobs. After Jones gave an interview to CNN, Trump singled him out on Twitter.

“Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!” Trump wrote on the social media platform.

Jones said he was grateful for Trump’s decision to intervene and save the jobs. At the same time, he expressed disappointment that the administration didn’t do more to help workers at Rexnord, which also planned to eliminate hundreds of jobs.

Jones started working at Rexnord in 1969. He’s been a full-time union officer since 1985 and has spent the last year or so trying to prevent jobs from leaving Indianapolis.

As for his retirement, Jones knows it’s coming soon.

“I haven’t got anything I’m planning on doing,” he told the IndyStar. “I’m going to basically take it easy for a while.”