Am I misunderstanding this story or haven’t we known this since the day the deal was struck last November? It’s getting a ton of buzz online today as alleged evidence that Trump’s big job-saving Carrier PR moment last fall was a sham, but I don’t think that’s correct. It was always part of the deal that 600 jobs would head to Mexico. Trump’s win was keeping another 1,100 in place in Indiana.
“The jobs are still leaving,” said Robert James, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999. “Nothing has stopped.”…
The agreement does guarantee that Carrier, a unit of United Technologies Corp., will continue to employ at least 1,069 people at the Indianapolis plant for 10 years in exchange for up to $7 million in incentives. In addition, the company has promised to invest $16 million in the facility.
But fewer than 800 of those 1,069 jobs — 730 to be exact — are the manufacturing jobs that were always at the heart of the debate. The rest are engineering and technical jobs that were never scheduled to be cut.
“To me this was just political, to make it a victory within Trump’s campaign, in his eyes that he did something great,” said T. J. Bray, a 15-year Carrier employee who will keep his job due to seniority. “I’m very grateful that I get to keep my job, and many others, but I’m still disappointed that we’re losing a lot.”
So 600 jobs that were supposed to stay in Indiana are being shipped down to Monterrey anyway? Er, no. Here’s a local Indianapolis TV station reporting on the deal on December 1st last year, the day after it was done:
While good news came Thursday for hundreds of workers at Carrier’s Indianapolis plant, nearly 600 workers will still be losing their jobs as Carrier ships them off to Mexico by the end of 2017.
In a letter distributed to employees on Thursday, the company said that they will still be moving forward with their plans to relocate the fan coil manufacturing lines to their Monterrey, Mexico facility.
Those 600 jobs were marked for death from the beginning. They were never part of the deal, which traded tax breaks for a guarantee from Carrier to cancel its plans to lay off another 1,400 people and keep 1,069 in Indianapolis instead. People have short memories about this because Trump sold the Carrier deal as a total victory when it wasn’t: It didn’t save every job headed for outsourcing and it didn’t guarantee long-term employment for the jobs it did save. (The parent company’s CEO later said that the $16 million it’ll invest in the Indianapolis plant will be applied towards, er, automation.) It was a partial win designed to make a statement that the “America First” president meant what he said about keeping jobs here at home. Even the tax breaks received by Carrier were mostly symbolic. The $7 million given to the company is chump change compared to what they would have saved on labor by shipping those jobs to Mexico and barely a blip on its parent company’s bottom line. Carrier did the deal largely as a PR stunt too. And because they did, there’s really nothing keeping those 1,069 jobs in the U.S. If all they’ll lose by breaking their promise to keep the Indianapolis plant going is a chunk of that $7 million pittance, they might decide to renege and head south after all. As James, the union leader, said to CNBC, “I don’t think they built that facility in Monterrey, Mexico, just to have four departments in there. It’s a little too large for that.”
All of which is to say, there’s no real “news” in the fact that 600 jobs are departing for Mexico. They were always supposed to depart; Carrier made the official announcement a full month ago, in fact. The news, if you want to call it that, is simply that Trump hasn’t tried to revisit the deal and save those jobs too. It’d be interesting if he did, though, given the state of his job approval lately. Would Carrier be as eager to placate Trump now as they were a few weeks after the election, when he was fresh off the political upset of the century fueled by a populist wave? I’m guessing no. Maybe we’ll find out now that this is getting media attention again.
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