Last week, Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers 1999 (representing the workers at Carrier), penned an Op-Ed for The Washington Post, after president-elect Trump lashed out at Jones personally, via Twitter. Jones and his family have since been on the receiving end of threats and harassment from Trump supporters.
Excerpts from The Washington Post Op-Ed:
In February, corporate officials came to our plant and announced that they were closing the facility. They would move 1,300 jobs to a plant in Mexico.
Over the next several months, my team and I worked tirelessly to keep Carrier in our city. We came up with $23 million in savings, but the Carrier brass said that wasn't enough. They could save $65 million by moving to Mexico. We couldn't match that unless we were willing to cut wage to $5/hour and cut all benefits.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Trump got involved. He sat down with Carrier leaders. Afterward, he announced that 1,100 jobs would be saved. When I first heard the news, I was optimistic. But I began to get nervous when we couldn't get any details on the deal. I urged caution, but our members got their hopes up. they thought their jobs had been saved.
What I can't abide, however, is a president who misleads workers, who gives them false hope. We're not asking for anything besides opportunity, for jobs that let people provide for their families. These plants are profitable, and the workers produced a good-quality product. Because of corporate greed, though, company leaders are racing to the bottom, to find places where they can pay the least.
“To attack a local labor leader in Indianapolis who has fought valiantly for his workers to protect the jobs of his steel workers is really unbelievable,” Sanders remarked, urging critics to not be fooled by appearances. “As is usually the case with Mr. Trump, there’s more beneath the surface.”
“That is what I think [Trump] was really doing; sending a message to the entire trade union movement.. ‘Do not stand up and fight for working people, we’re going to go after you,'” Sanders continued, adding that “We need to grow the trade union movement in America, we need to make it easier for workers to be able to engage in collective bargaining and what Trump is saying is exactly the opposite.”
Carrier is a brand of United Technologies Corporation Building & Industrial Systems, based in Farmington, CT. Founded in 1915 as an independent American company, manufacturing and distributing heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, as well as a commercial refrigeration and food service equipment, the company was acquired by United Technologies in 1979.
As of 2012, Carrier was a $12.5 billion company with over 43,000 employees in 170 countries on six continents.