Local union president responds to Trump tweet on Carrier ‘progress’
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— Some Carrier employees are feeling a little more hopeful this Thanksgiving that Donald Trump will keep a campaign promise.
In February, Carrier announced their plans to relocate its Indianapolis operations to Mexico over the next three years, a move that will affect about 1,400 jobs.
The move became a big topic of the 2016 Presidential Election. Trump has stated several times he would be able to save the jobs. During an April rally in Indianapolis, Trump stated “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’ll get a call from the head of Carrier and he’ll say, ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to stay in the United States. That’s what’s going to happen — 100%.”
“I really figured that since the campaign was over and Mr. Trump had won that that would be the last we’d hear about Carrier or trying to keep these jobs here in this country,” said Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999.
But earlier today the president-elect tweeted about working with Carrier to keep jobs in Indiana, writing he was working hard and making progress in getting Carrier to stay in the U.S.
“For the most part, they’re hoping something happens,” said Jones about Carrier workers. “I don’t think they’re overly optimistic, but at least we’ve got some hope where before we didn’t have anything.”
Carrier, which manufactures heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems at its plant located on West Morris Street, responded to Trump’s tweet with one of their own. The company stated they were having talks with the incoming administration, but there was nothing to announce at this time.
“Carrier is real image-conscious, so they’re going to do their due diligence, they’re going to say the right thing,” said Jones. “They’re probably going to sit down with Mr. Trump and discuss it and I’m hoping something turns around. ”
Jones doesn’t believe the issues Chris Nelson addressed an a statement issued shortly after February’s announcement can be easily resolved.
The statement said, “The move is intended to address the challenges we continue to face in a rapidly changing HVAC industry, with the continued migration of the HVAC industry to Mexico, including our suppliers and competitors, and ongoing cost and pricing pressures driven, in part, by new regulatory requirements.”
Earlier this month, another Indianapolis company, Rexnord Bearings, announced they were also pulling business out of the state and moving hundreds of jobs to Mexico.
According to United Steel Workers Union President Chuck Jones, the manufacturing company cited the wage difference as the reason they are moving. In Indianapolis, workers were making $25 per hour, plus benefits. The workers in Mexico will be making $2.50-$3 per hour, plus benefits. The move is tentatively set to begin in April and be done by June 2017.