Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

The president-elect has been announcing negotiations on Twitter.

It’s the Monday after Thanksgiving. Yours truly ate approximately 400 turkey sandwiches in the last 72 hours.

When I wasn’t wolfing down some bird, I was reading about how President-elect Donald Trump is leaning on American companies to keep their factories stateside.

This is something he campaigned on, a lot.

It would appear he’s wasting no time getting started on living up to the lofty expectations he has set for himself. The week before Turkey Day went down, Trump announced via Twitter that he was negotiating with Ford to keep a production line in Kentucky – instead of moving it to Mexico:

Intentional or not, Trump’s simple tweet was Grade A obfuscation, because it appears – according to the company and the United Autoworkers – that Ford wasn’t planning on closing its Kentucky plant, and that its union contract prevented it from doing so anyway. Said the president of the local:

"I’ll let each individual reach their own conclusions, but the true answer should be clear to anyone. What is important is the transparency between Ford Motor Co. and the UAW. We’re doing a good job and that wasn’t decided in an overnight tweet."

Okay, so it looks like Trump wasn’t? maybe? involved in securing those autoworker jobs in Kentucky. Whatever the case, the president-elect has since moved on to another high-profile instance of potential offshoring: The jobs at risk at a Carrier Corp. plant in Indianapolis. It was the scene of a truly awful video of a company executive telling a room full of workers that they were losing their livelihoods to Mexico.

Trump tweeted – on Thanksgiving, no less, while yours truly was watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on the tube – that he was trying to get Carrier to remain in Indiana.

Later that morning, Carrier confirmed that, yes, it had been in talks with the incoming administration.

The Hoosiers working at Carrier understandably hope this works out for them, and they’re trying not to get too optimistic as the president-elect gives their company The Business. It looks like the tariffs Trump once threatened may be replaced by tax cuts. Bernie Sanders, the onetime Democratic presidential candidate, suggested the big defense contracts held by Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, should be used as leverage. The president of the United Steelworkers local at the Carrier plant pointed that out, too.

While we hope for a good outcome, it will be interesting and illuminating to see how this all plays out while the Trump campaign continues to morph into the Trump administration. Meanwhile, another 300 manufacturing jobs – those at Rexnord Bearings, where workers make $25 an hour, plus benefits – are planning to leave the Circle City for Mexico.

Will the president-elect weigh in to help those workers, too?