Mayor Hogsett promises help for 1,400 laid off Carrier employees

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 11, 2016) - 1,400 jobs are on their way out of Indy. Carrier announced plans to shut down their west side factory and take the jobs to a new location in Mexico.

The announcement came as a shock to many of the employees Wednesday.

“I actually had to stop. I pulled over and started talking and I was like, what happened and she said the president came out and said the plant’s moving to Mexico,” said Benny Porter, a former Carrier plant employee.

For Porter, this closure hits too close to home.

“Nobody’s safe,” he said.

For 27 years his wife has worked on Carrier’s assembly line. The news that hers and more than 1,000 other jobs would be shipped overseas was a hard pill to swallow.

“You have to invest your life into the company but the company doesn’t invest in you,” said Porter.

Ever since Carrier announced they were moving their Indy operation to Mexico, Chuck Jones, President of the local United Steel Workers Union 1999, has been fielding hundreds of calls from concerned Carrier employees.

“When I got a call yesterday a little after 10, I was devastated and shocked, didn’t see that one coming at all,” said Jones.

His hope now lies he says in his government, pulling out all the stops and trying to keep more than 1,000 Hoosiers in the workforce.

“What we’d like to do is try to get some questions answered right now about is there any chance at all of keeping the work here,” said Jones.

“There’s always the possibility that they could change their mind. One knows the old adage, never say never,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

Hogsett created a task force to gather any resources to help Carrier plant employees find work elsewhere. But for Carrier, it came down to cost. Moving to Mexico, where the company can pay employees $6 an hour, a fraction of the $23 an hour they earn here, is a deal the company said they can’t pass up.

“They have the commitment of the Mayor of the City of Indianapolis that he will not rest until such time as we have provided them with every opportunity to find the same or similar job,” said Hogsett.

Carrier said they will slowly begin the move and by 2019, all jobs at the west side Indianapolis plant, will be eliminated.

The news even reached Washington D.C., where U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly blasted Carrier in a Senate Banking Committee hearing, saying they’ve let their employees down.

On Friday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took notice of the situation, and he commented about it on his Facebook page.

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