Trump claimed he saved this company. Now, it’s reportedly facing its lowest point ever.

Melanie Schmitz

Melanie Schmitz Editor, Think Progress

President Trump has long praised himself for “saving” more than a thousand jobs at Carrier, a heating, ventilating, and air conditioning company with locations across the globe.

Now, however, a New York Times report has revealed morale at the company’s Indianapolis, Indiana factory has reached an all-time low.

Months ahead of the 2016 election, Carrier announced it would be shuttering its Indianapolis factory and moving its 1,400 jobs to Mexico, citing “ongoing cost and pricing pressures” driven by “new regulatory requirements.” The unexpected announcement reportedly sent shockwaves through the community, with Carrier employees fearful about their futures.

At the time, then-GOP candidate Trump condemned the move, claiming he would impose harsh tariffs on any foreign-made Carrier products, if elected.

By November of that year, shortly after winning the presidential election, Trump appeared to have changed his tune, tweeting that he was in talks with Carrier’s leadership to keep the plant running. At the end of the month, Carrier announced it would keep the Indianapolis factory open, saying it had reached a deal with Trump and Vice President Pence to preserve those jobs, in exchange for a $7 million state incentives package.

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“Freak Accidents” — Neither Freakish, nor Accidental

Jordan Barab

Jordan Barab Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA

This is another in an occasional seriesof posts about the stupidity and ignorance of labeling workplace fatalities “freak accidents.” Why are we opposed to seeing this phrase?

First, the phrase implies that this type of incident hardly ever happens and there is, therefore, not much you can do about it. In fact, the phrase “freak accident” is a double-whammy. Not only dies the word “freak” imply “rare,” but the word “accident,” defined as “an unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury,” implies that the event was “unexpected.”

Rare and unexpected. Shit happens. Waddayagonnado?

For example:

Married father-of-three mechanic, 40, is crushed to death in freak accident doing maintenance on ‘magic carpet’ ski lift in Colorado

Clear Creek County, CO — A Colorado ski area employee was crushed to death while working on a snow-level lift just three days after celebrating Christmas with his wife and three children. Clear Creek County officials say 40-year-old Adam Lee got caught in the equipment at Loveland Ski Area and suffered crushing chest injuries last Thursday.  Erika Mackay Lee, Adam’s wife, has expressed frustration at the lack of answers about what happened to her husband.  ‘I asked that question five times and every single time I was told it was a freak accident,’ the widow tells The Denver Channel.  In the days since her husband’s death, Erika has learned some of the details from Adam’s co-workers. ‘He was under the magic carpet conveyor belt,’ Erika told CBS4. ‘And that’s supposed to have a lock-out system. But somebody came up and started it. And he was dragged under.’

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Robert Reich on Republican Plan to Slash Medicaid and Medicare

Wage theft lawsuit muddies the water for potential Amazon headquarters in D.C.

Jeremy Mohler

Jeremy Mohler Writer, In the Public Interest

Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. From President Donald Trump tweeting, incorrectly, that unemployment is at its “best point in history,” to Amazon trading new jobs for tax breaks on its next headquarters, employment seems to be today’s most valuable political currency.

Yes, jobs are valuable. They pay the bills and put food on the table. But what we rarely question is their quality: how much they pay, whether they come with good benefits, and who has access to them.

That’s why a lawsuit filed this week by Washington, D.C.’s Attorney General is so significant. It calls into question the common-sense strategy used by most if not all U.S. cities and states of handing out tax breaks to corporations and real estate developers in exchange for job creation.

In the grand scheme of things, the lawsuit is a slap on the wrist in what is really a heavyweight bout. Power Design, a Florida-based electrical contractor, allegedly schemed to avoid paying 535 D.C. workers sick leave, overtime pay, or the minimum wage. It’s already been sued at least five times for wage theft in D.C. and Maryland alone. And it’s just one contractor — employers in the ten most populous states steal an estimated $8 billion annually from workers by not paying the minimum wage.

Wage theft has been around a long time. My father has told me stories from the early 1980s when he was paid low, non-union wages by a construction company that charged its clients higher union wages.

But this lawsuit is an opportunity to ask loud and clear: if the public can’t enforce the agreements we make, then why make agreements at all?

Power Design has worked on many high-profile D.C. development projects, including the newly opened LINE Hotel in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, a few blocks from where I live. The luxury hotel’s developer received a $46 million tax break in exchange for hiring local residents for the majority of its construction and permanent jobs. The District is set to soon begin assessing whether the developer held up its end of the bargain. But what if Power Design and other contractors skirted labor laws in the process? Without full enforcement, how would we even know?

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Anti-Corruption Victory in Michigan