According to a report from the Washington Post, Donald Trump’s 2016 promise to stop manufacturer Carrier from exporting jobs overseas — particularly to Mexico — was an enormous bust with more 60 percent of the jobs in Indiana disappearing as the company persisted in off-shoring employment over the past three years.
Right after he was elected, the president made an announcement that he had convinced the company to keep 1,100 jobs in Indiana instead of shipping them off to Mexico, telling cheering employees at a plant, “Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. It’s not going to happen. We’re not going to have it anymore.”
As workers have come to find out, the president was all talk.
“Trump advertised Carrier’s Dec. 1, 2016, announcement that it would preserve about 800 jobs in Indianapolis as a decisive break from decades of U.S. executives capitalizing on lower labor costs overseas at the expense of blue-collar workers at home,” the report states. “While about 800 jobs that were slated to leave the Indianapolis plant stayed put, 632 others were eliminated along with an additional 738 from a second Carrier plant in Indiana that closed, according to company filings with state and federal officials. Company-wide, Carrier eliminated an additional 1,300 positions last year and David Gitlin, the chief executive, has vowed to be ‘brutally tenacious’ in further reducing costs.”
Carrier employees were not the only ones who found the president’s words ringing hollow, with the Post noting that similar promises of jobs at Harley Davidson and Foxconn either disappeared or never materialized.
“Throughout his presidency, Trump has had little success with his highly personalized attempts to bend corporate decision-making to his will and reverse a generation-long decline in U.S. factory jobs. He has publicly assailed companies such as General Motors and Harley-Davidson for moving manufacturing abroad without causing them to unwind their plans. And he has claimed credit for investments that failed to live up to advance billing, including Foxconn’s $10 billion plan to create 13,000 jobs at a new electronics factory in Wisconsin. Just this month, state officials denied the Taiwanese company special tax credits, saying it had abandoned its original commitment, employed fewer than 520 people and spent just $300 million,” the Post’s David J. Lynch reported.
According to Lori Wallach, a trade attorney with Public Citizen, “The president has talked a big game and then failed to actually employ most of the tools that could have made a bigger difference in stopping jobs from leaving the United States,” before dryly adding, “There’s been a lot of rhetoric.”
Trump reacted to the announcement of the job loss back in 2016 when a video of employees being informed about the move went viral as a spokesperson explained, “This is strictly a business decision.”
The president was quick to jump into the breach with an appearance where he made his bold announcement in a 17-minute speech that received wide coverage.
Following that speech, workers quickly noted that jobs were heading out the door as the AGVs — automated guided vehicles — began appearing on the factory floor, as the company made the move to automating manufacturing positions.
“The president’s intervention did nothing to interrupt Carrier’s international expansion. Just four months after Carrier agreed to keep some jobs in Indianapolis, the company broke ground on a new manufacturing facility in China. The $95 million factory would produce compressors and light commercial systems for sale in China and the region,” the report states before adding that another 632 jobs at one Indianapolis plant were later eliminated.
“The work that left Indiana ended up in Monterrey, Mexico’s manufacturing heartland, in a blue-and-white building Carrier calls Plant A. Both the U.S. and Mexican flags fly out front,” the report states. “Today, Carrier shows little sign of having been transformed by Trump’s intervention. More than half of the company’s annual revenue last year came from its international operations, including exports from the United States.”
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