INDIANAPOLIS (Reuters) – More than 200 workers clocked in for their final shifts on Thursday at Carrier Corp. in Indianapolis in the latest round of layoffs at a plant President Donald Trump toured in December 2016 to trumpet a deal to save jobs and prevent its closure.
Under pressure from the newly-elected Trump, Carrier and its parent company United Technologies Corp, dropped its plan in late 2016 to close the plant and move 1,400 factory jobs to Mexico. In return, the company received $7 million in state tax breaks to stay in Indiana.
Trump praised the deal, under which he said 1,100 jobs would be saved, as a model of how he would push American companies to keep jobs in the country.
It undoubtedly saved hundreds of positions at Carrier, but manufacturing workers who now face unemployment say they feel let down by a deal that started out as a presidential campaign rallying cry but turned out to be less than it appeared.
Carrier said this week that 1,100 workers will remain at the factory, upholding its deal with Trump. They include 730 manufacturing jobs and about 300 engineering and administrative positions that were never slated to move.
But Carrier also laid off 338 manufacturing workers in July and another 215 this week. Those jobs are going to the company’s plant in Monterrey, Mexico, where workers make about $3 an hour, according to Indiana union officials.
“Yes he (Trump) saved jobs, yes he did. But he didn’t save mine, he didn’t save manufacturing jobs. He saved office personnel, okay?” said Renee Elliott, 45, who supported Trump in the 2016 election and was among those being laid off on Thursday.
Elliott began working at Carrier in 2013 as a seasonal employee making $13 per hour. She currently makes $18 per hour, taking advantage of overtime shifts, and sometimes works seven days a week.
DISAPPOINTED BY DEAL
She does not know what she will do next and said she is disappointed that Trump did not make a better deal for factory-floor workers.
During his visit, Trump strode through the furnace factory, with TV cameras rolling, and shook hands with workers, telling them the deal with the company was “very exciting.”
“Companies are not going to leave the United States any more without consequences. Not going to happen,” Trump said.