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Carrier Loses 215 Employees In Latest Round Of Layoffs

Jan 11, 2018
Originally published on January 11, 2018 4:26 pm
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Meanwhile at the Carrier furnace plant in Indianapolis, 215 employees are handing in their badges today. In 2016, the company said it would close the plant and move all the jobs to Mexico. But then Donald Trump started criticizing Carrier while he was campaigning for president. By the time Trump was president-elect, he cut a deal with the company to save some of the jobs, not all of the jobs. And today was just the last round of layoffs. With us now is Drew Daudelin of member station WFYI in Indianapolis. Hey there.

DREW DAUDELIN, BYLINE: Hi.

MCEVERS: What are Carrier workers who are being laid off - what are they saying about this round of layoffs?

DAUDELIN: This of course has been known that this would happen. The general sentiment at Carrier is anger and frustration, I would say, at that the decision. There's a lot of talk of corporate greed as being kind of the motivating factor here. So there was a gathering yesterday at Sully's Bar and Grill in Indianapolis, which is a popular hangout for these workers. We heard from one woman, Renee Elliott, who voted for Trump and said she and other workers feel betrayed by the layoffs. And so there's not a lot of positive sentiments, as you can imagine, from people about the layoffs, even the people who are getting to stay.

MCEVERS: Earlier today we talked to the president of the local chapter of the United Steelworkers Union, Robert James, and here's what he told us people were saying last night.

ROBERT JAMES: They were talking basically directly to President Trump about the promises that he made and the promises that he has not kept to the American people and to the Carrier workers. People are still waiting for him to keep his promises.

MCEVERS: He's talking about, you know, how President Trump didn't keep his promises. But as we said in the introduction, I mean, people knew that some of the jobs would be going away from this plant, right?

DAUDELIN: Yeah. The dispute kind of goes back a while. This has to do with numbers. There's a lot of different numbers being thrown around here. When Trump initially came to Carrier after - shortly after his election, he announced that 1,100 jobs minimum would be saved, and that number ended up being a little different. There are some white collar jobs that were never really in danger that were actually a part of that number. And so that dispute over how many jobs were said to be saved and how many were actually saved has caused somewhat of a bitter reaction from some people in the situation.

MCEVERS: And also, in return for this sort of deal that the president made, I mean, Carrier got something out of that deal. What was it?

DAUDELIN: Yeah. So in the deal, the plant received up to $7 million in conditional state tax incentives and training grants. And they also agreed to stay open in Indianapolis for 10 years.

MCEVERS: And you've talked to some people who knew they would be laid off. But still, today must not be an easy day for them. What are their plans now?

DAUDELIN: So a lot of the people that work at this factory, as you can imagine, are middle-aged, which means that many of them are too old to go back to school or have that be an easy option for them but also too young to retire. So they're kind of in limbo, a lot of them. And some have applied for what's called Trade Adjustment Assistance, which is a federal benefit for people whose jobs are affected by global trade. But a lot of them that I've talked to are worried because the jobs that they've grown up with and this job that they had is not as easy to find as it used to be.

MCEVERS: WFYI's Drew Daudelin, thank you so much.

DAUDELIN: Thanks. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.