Saving Jobs: Trump Succeeds Where Unions Fail
By Olivia Grady
On February 10, 2016, Carrier Corporation, a manufacturer of heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, announced that it was moving production of an Indianapolis, Indiana factory to Monterrey, Mexico. The result would have been a loss of 1,400 American jobs.
Leaders from the United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents the Carrier employees, attempted to persuade the company not to move, but was unsuccessful.
Chuck Jones, the president of the union, explained to RTV6, a local Indianapolis station, on February 16, 2016 why Carrier was moving: "Their answer was basically that because of the wage discrepancies, they didn't see it being possible that was going to happen."
In other words, the union has made the labor costs unsustainable.
Jones claims that his members are paid $20 per hour while Mexican workers would receive $3 per hour.
Carrier’s president of HVAC systems and services in North America, Chris Nelson, added in a statement by Carrier:
“This 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.”
At a March 7 rally in Concord, North Carolina however, Candidate Donald Trump told the crowd he would convince Carrier to keep the jobs in America.
After the election, President-elect Trump called Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies Corp., the business that owns Carrier, and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence met with him.
They struck a deal.
Jones, the union president who has been critical of Trump, responded to the deal with uncertainty, “I’m optimistic, but I don’t know what the situation is. I guess it’s a good sign. ... You would think they would keep us in the loop. But we know nothing.”
On December 1, 2016, Trump spoke at the Carrier plant and explained the details of his deal to the workers: Carrier will invest $16 million in its Indiana facilities and keep about 800 jobs in exchange for $7 million in tax breaks. The remaining 400 jobs will be relocated south of the border.
After learning the details of the deal, Jones is now unhappy. He told The Washington Post on December 6, 2016 that Trump had lied about the number of jobs saved: “But he got up there and, for whatever reason, lied his a-- off.”
Trump responded to Jones’ comments in a tweet: “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”
If President Trump can keep jobs in America, who needs the union?