Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

The first round will come in July; the second right before Christmas.

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.