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Carrier quietly outsources jobs to Mexico

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This time, they did not hold a press conference with Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump speaks at Carrier Corp Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

When then-Candidate Trump found out in February of 2016 that Carrier would be closing their Indianapolis plant and sending those 2,100 jobs to Mexico, it became a cornerstone of his campaign. He railed against companies like Carrier for outsourcing jobs and threatened penalizing them with heavy tax.

“If they’re going to fire all their people, move their plant to Mexico, build air conditioners, and think they’re going to sell those air conditioners to the United States — there’s going to be a tax,” Trump said at a rally in April. “It could be 25 percent, it could be 35 percent, it could be 15 percent — I haven’t determined.”

After winning the election, Trump and then-Vice President-elect Mike Pence announced with much fanfare in late November that they had reached a deal with Carrier to keep around 1,000 jobs at the company’s Indianapolis plant.

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Just after the election and before his inauguration, Trump held a huge rally in Indianapolis as part of his post-election “thank you” tour. In the speech, he said he was thankful for the “two massive victories, one after another” and took credit for saving the Carrier jobs, asking the crowd, “isn’t is nice to win?” The Carrier deal was seen by his supporters as proof that the incoming president’s business savvy was enough to keep American jobs from being outsourced.

Following the Carrier announcement, he warned that business that left the United States would face a heavy tax, up to 35%.

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Now, six months into his presidency, Trump doesn’t appear to be making good on that promise

Today, 338 employees will be let go from their jobs at the Indianapolis plant in the first wave of cuts at Carrier. In total, 630 people will lose their jobs by the end of the year as Carrier relocates their fan coil production to Mexico. Additionally, Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies Corp., is still forging ahead with their plans to close the Huntington, Indiana plant, affecting around 700 workers — all these jobs, heading to Mexico without any repercussion.

Since the election, Trump has established a pattern of taking credit for saving or creating jobs that his deals had nothing to do with. For example, Trump took credit for a statement in a press release written by Toyota announcing that it is spending $1.3 billion at a Kentucky plant that will build its new Camry. “Toyota’s decision to invest $1.3 billion in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration,” reads the Trump quote in the press release. But the company made clear that the news is not related to his administration. In fact, Toyota began preparing for manufacturing the new Camry during President Obama’s term.

And while Trump and Pence took credit for saving Carrier’s Indianapolis plant, current union chief Robert James told the Indianapolis Star that sentiments among the workers aren’t optimistic at all.

“They just don’t have any faith in this plant staying in Indianapolis,” James said. “There’s just too much uncertainty.”

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In December, Chuck Jones, then-president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999 union that represents Carrier workers, gave multiple media interviews pushing back on Trump’s claim that the deal was a victory for workers. He said Trump “lied his ass off” when it came to saving 1,000 jobs and said the details surrounding the kind of deal Trump and Pence struck with Carrier were dubious. In a statement following the deal, Carrier announced that “the incentives offered by the state were an important consideration” to staying. The incentives, paid by Indiana taxpayers, amount to $7 million over a decade — $700,000 a year.

Trump is promising to reverse economic forces outside of any individual’s control. With automation accounting for 50 percent to 90 percent of job losses at American factories, cuts to low-skill manufacturing jobs will continue to be made, regardless of any “deals” struck up by people like the president. UTC has pledged to spend $16 million on plant upgrades, including automation. Job numbers reinforce Trump’s Carrier “deal” occurred amid a long-term downturn in manufacturing jobs in the country. Into 2017, manufacturing jobs have shown very little growth.

Trump’s deal with Carrier is a shell game. Keep your eye on federal contractor rules.

Meanwhile, Trump is highlighting products from companies still manufacturing in the United States during the White House’s “Made in America” week, because America sets the “world standard for quality and craftsmanship.” If American products set the “world standard,” then products made overseas, like the majority of the Trump Organization’s products, fail to meet that standard, despite Trump routinely touting them as the best.


Carrier quietly outsources jobs to Mexico was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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