Carrier Job Cuts Proceeding As Planned

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Donald Trump, an erstwhile hamburger pitchman who is currently the president of the United States, knows an opportunity when he sees one.

Case in point: The Carrier deal. In February 2016 Trump saw the grim cell phone video of a mass layoff announcement at Carrier's furnace-making factory on the west side of Indianapolis, and was talking about it in a primary debate days later.

He promised that if elected president, Carrier could expect a big tax on its imports if it laid off its Hoosier employees and took its manufacturing down to Mexico.

And before long it became a staple of his campaign rallies. On Carrier, Trump was dug in like an Alabama tick.

Shortly after he won the presidency in November, President-elect Trump started hinting at a deal to keep those Carrier jobs in Indianapolis.

Then he went to the Carrier plant to celebrate this deal … and got the details wrong. I'll go ahead and call it intentional; implying you saved 1,100 blue-collar jobs makes for a good soundbite. President Trump is good at soundbites.

That really bothered Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers local that represents the plant.

Here’s what he told us in May:

"The whole thing, in my opinion, laid in his hands, wasn’t really hard to do for the mere fact that UTC, which owns Carrier, had over $5 billion in military contracts. That should have been relatively easy to negotiate, if I’m Donald Trump.

"What people are neglecting to realize is 550 of our jobs here at the Carrier facility are still going to Monterrey, Mexico. And other another 700, which isn’t a carrier facility but it’s UTC, another 700 Huntington people – they’re closing that plant down in its entirety.

"Sure, give the guy credit he deserves on the jobs that are staying. But it wasn’t as clean cut as he portrayed it to be. And then Rexnord, another one of our facilities – when it first came up, Trump tweeted out 'Rexnord firing 300 people … not gonna happen.' Well, it’s still happening.”

Indeed, it is. Rexnord has packed most of its operation up and moved to Mexico. And the workers at Carrier aren’t faring much better.

A few months after the then president-elect said 1,100 Carrier jobs would be saved, the reality is playing out precisely in the way the deal was cut. CBS News summed it up this way:

“The truth is that 400 of the 1,100 jobs Mr. Trump mentioned were white-collar positions that were never going away.

Only 700 union jobs were saved. Six hundred others will be lost, and Carrier is not paying a price. The company actually received a $7 million incentive package from Indiana to keep the plant open with a reduced work force.

The first round of scheduled Carrier layoffs begin next month, and the second will hit right before Christmas.

What has Trump said about Carrier or Rexnord lately? About the UTC jobs in Huntington? About Carrier, he hasn’t said much since blaming the union for the job loss. He blamed the Rexnord factory closure on the Obama administration. And he hasn’t said anything about the Huntington workers. I guess they should have made a cell phone video.

NPR spoke to a worker at the Carrier plant, and asked him how he views President Trump now. The worker said this:

When we heard about the deal, you know, we thought maybe he really is going to do – you know, not like these other politicians who say stuff and don't do anything. But then we find out it's not what it is. It's hard to have confidence in him. He's speaking about how he's going to keep these jobs here and what he's going to do. But we're still seeing jobs leaving.

I mean, don't say that if you're not going to do anything to save these jobs.

***

Reposted from AAM.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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