Less than a month after his election and aching to show America what he could do, then-President-elect Trump struck a deal with a Carrier plant in IN that would see 1,100 jobs remain in the U.S. So Carrier will keep 730 manufacturing employees, but lay off 600 others and send their jobs to Mexico all the same. He added, "jobs is one of the primary reasons I'm standing here today as your president, and I will never, ever disappoint you". Trump presented this as a watershed victory and went out to the plant to give a celebratory address.
In addition, the $16 million that the company promised to invest in the facility as part of Trump's deal will go toward automation in the factory, which would ultimately result in fewer jobs.
While good news came Thursday for hundreds of workers at Carrier's Indianapolis plant, almost 600 workers will still be losing their jobs as Carrier ships them off to Mexico by the end of 2017.
It sounded great, but even at the time, the boasts came with fine print. Trump exaggerated the number of jobs saved, rewarded a company with taxpayer money that was closing a plant and shipping jobs to Mexico, and fudged the facts about how numerous saved jobs will be eliminated anyway. "The jobs are still leaving", Robert James, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, told CNBC.
"We're going to be hiring something like 5,000 people this year", he said. Plant union president Don Zering told the Associated Press that production by the remaining 110 workers goes on only because factories in Mexico and McAllen, Texas-quite close to the border-aren't yet prepared to do the work.
As CNBC reports, Carrier received "up to $7 million in incentives" in exchange for agreeing to employ at least 1,069 workers for the next decade.
Meanwhile, earlier this week Ford announced that it won't, as was rumored earlier, be shifting Ford Focus production to Mexico. That means if Carrier wants to ship jobs to Mexico and Ford wants to ship them to China, nobody is going to stop them.
"If companies know they can do it and get money that's laying around on tables, money that's there for the taking, that hurts the tax base", said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a nonprofit Washington, D.C., watchdog group that is critical of state subsidies to business.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says already this year it has landed commitments for 80 new projects, adding more than 5,700 jobs.