Plant workers still losing jobs tell Trump: Don't forget about us
As Donald Trump held a victory lap touting a decision by Carrier to keep an Indianapolis plant open rather than move the facility to Mexico, workers at another of the company's Indiana plants said they are still losing their jobs.
Around 700 jobs will be lost when United Technologies Electronic Controls moves to Mexico sometime in 2018, workers told NBC News.
CNBC confirmed Thursday that the company still plans to close the Huntington plant and move it to Mexico.
"What about our jobs in Huntington," read a sign carried by Bob Breedlove, 60, who has worked at the facility for 11 years and was told layoffs will begin sometime in 2017.
Breedlove voted for Trump. "I still support him, I'm glad he is able to save some jobs," he said of the Indianapolis deal. "Obviously, I wish he would be able to save ours also."
The deal to keep the Carrier plant in Indianapolis was visually an early success for Trump, who has made keeping jobs in the United States a central part of his campaign. The decision is expected to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in the U.S.
"Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. Not gonna happen," Trump said in Indianapolis Thursday. He pledged to work to lower business taxes as part of a plan to keep businesses in the U.S.
The air-conditioning manufacturer had planned to move production at its Indianapolis plant to Mexico, where operations would be cheaper, taking some 1,400 jobs out of the state. Under the deal worked out by the Trump administration — which Vice President-elect Mike Pence took a leading role in shaping — Carrier will keep about 1,000 of those jobs in the state.
Carrier said the deal to keep its plant in Indianapolis involved Indiana offering the company "a $7 million package over multiple years, contingent upon factors including employment, job retention and capital investment."
The company said in a statement Wednesday that "the incentives offered by the state were an important consideration."
Carrier and UTEC are both owned by United Technologies. The union that represents workers at the Huntington plant did not return a request for comment Thursday. Huntington is city of around 37,000 a little more than 100 miles north of Indianapolis.
News of the agreement with Carrier to keep the Indianapolis facility in the U.S. filled workers at the Huntington plant with hope that their jobs might be saved also, said Mike Harmon, a 7-year employee and business manager for the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 983.
But calls to union leadership who contacted Carrier human resources returned gloomy news, he said. "Our plant's not going to be saved," Harmon said.
"We want Trump to look at our plant, not to forget about us," said Harmon, who voted for the president-elect.
"We feel like we've been forgotten, from the whole very beginning," Harmon said, adding that while Trump mentioned Carrier's Indianapolis plant on the campaign trail, he never heard Trump mention Huntington.
But Harmon also said he agrees with some of Trump's pledges to work to keep companies in the U.S.
"Trump put out a scare to the Carrier Corp.: If you want to take the jobs overseas we're gonna tariff you coming back — I feel that that's a start," Harmon said.
"To save a thousand jobs, I feel like is a good thing," he said. "Even though our jobs aren't being saved ... I'd like to see 1,700 jobs."
Since 2000 the U.S. has lost around 5 million manufacturing jobs, and Indiana alone has lost about 150,000 factory jobs since 2000 to about 500,000, Reuters reported.
He suggested that it was "absurd ... that the taxpayers of this country have to subsidize multi-billion dollar corporations who are making huge profits in order to beg them to keep jobs in this country."
Sanders added: "What he's doing now is saying to these corporations, 'well, it's OK for half of the jobs to go to Mexico where people will be paid three bucks an hour and for the other half, well, we're going to give a very profitable corporation ... a $7 million tax break in order to keep these jobs."
Sanders said that United Technologies made $7 billion in preofits last year and gave its CEO a $172 million golden parachute two years ago.
He added: "United Technologies does not need a tax break. United Technologies today has $6 billion in defense contracts. And what Trump should tell them is, 'you're not getting a tax break, you're going to lose your defense contracts if you don't do the right thing and keep these workers, all of these workers, here in Indiana rather than sending half of those jobs to Mexico' ... What we should be saying is, 'We demand of you to be a patriotic corporation. No, you're not going to throw American workers out on the street and move to other countries and then expect your products to simply come back into the United States tariff-free, no. Don't expect that you're going to get huge defense contracts from the taxpayers of this country. We want you to be a good corporate citizen.'"
Near the Indianapolis Carrier facility, workers at a Rexnord plant which is also slated to move to Mexico — taking 300 jobs with it — also wondered if Trump could intervene. "Do for us what you've done for Carrier," John Feltner, one of those to lose his job, said.
"I know they say something about the Trump train — I don't know what kind of train it is, but don't let it stop at Carrier," the father with two children in college said. "Keep on rolling. Get them all back."