Donald Trump speaks at Carrier Corp Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Indianapolis. CREDIT: AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Trump ignored the United Steelworkers, handed a big tax break to management, then claimed an exaggerated victory.
Two weeks ago, President-elect Donald Trump announced he had personally strongarmed the air conditioning and heater company Carrier into keeping more than 1,100 jobs at an Indiana factory, rather than offshoring them.
“Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences,” Trump said during last week’s victory lap at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis. “Not going to happen.”
But the more details about Trump’s negotiations with Carrier become public, the more hollow his victory appears. First, various outlets reported that the number of jobs saved was closer to 800 than 1,100. Then, Carrier revealed that Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence — the current governor of Indiana — had purchased the company’s continued presence in the state with more than $7 million in tax breaks. Some “consequences.”
Throughout all of this, the man who claimed to represent Carrier factory workers — Donald Trump — completely ignored the institution that actually represents them: United Steelworkers Local 1999.
The union says it was entirely cut out of negotiations between Trump and Carrier, and only learned the outcome last Thursday, when the president-elect gave his self-congratulatory speech in Indianapolis.
“There was no interaction with the Trump team and the union at any level. The union was left in the dark until the day of the announcement,” Local 1999 union rep Kelly Ray Hugunin told ThinkProgress in an email. “Even then, no interaction with the Trump team.”
As of press time, the transition team has not responded to a request for information on their communications — if any — with the Carrier union.
“Perhaps more jobs could have been saved had the union been invited to participate in negotiations.”
What the union learned on Thursday, it told local press, is that Carrier had not left 1,100 union jobs intact. Instead, only 730 union jobs and 70 other positions would be saved. More than 500 Indianapolis jobs, along with 700 at a plant in Huntington, are still on the chopping block.
Nonetheless, the deal appears to have had its intended effect. Following days of misleading, laudatory news coverage, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds 60 percent of respondents now have a more favorable view of the president-elect thanks to the Carrier deal.
That’s not much comfort to Local 1999, which is glad to see some jobs preserved but is frustrated with the opaque negotiating process.
“Perhaps more jobs could have been saved had the union been invited to participate in negotiations,” said Hugunin.