More bad news for Carrier workers

Carrier workers in Indianapolis, Indiana received some more bad news.

Think Progress reports that Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, the corporation that owns Carrier, said that his company will invest millions of dollars in state money to automate work at the plant and that the automation will lead to more job losses.

The money from the state of Indiana was part of deal negotiated to keep Carrier from moving jobs in Indiana to Mexico.

That news came a week after Carrier workers learned that 550 jobs at the plant would be eliminated.

The workers had previously thought that their jobs had been saved after President-elect Donald Trump announced that he had convinced United Technologies to keep its Indianapolis Carrier plant open.

The last year has been a roller coaster ride for Carrier workers.

In February, Carrier, which makes gas furnaces at its Indianapolis plant, announced that it in order to save money it would close its factories in Indianapolis and Huntington, Indiana and move the work to Mexico.

At the time, President-elect Donald Trump expressed outrage at the proposed closures and the company’s plan to move the work to Mexico and promised that if elected he would fight to save those jobs.

One of the first things he did after winning the election was to strike a deal with Carrier to keep the Indianapolis factory open.

Indiana Gov. and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, serving as Trump’s representative, agreed to give Carrier $7 million in state incentives to keep the Indianapolis plant open. Pence also agreed to give the company $16 million in state money that would be used to make capital investments at the plant.

Trump made a trip to the Carrier factory in Indianapolis to announce that he had saved 1100 jobs.

According to Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999 whose members work at the Indianapolis Carrier plant, workers were elated to hear the news.

They assumed that the 1100 jobs that would be saved were the manufacturing jobs at the plant, which would mean that almost all of production jobs at the plant would be saved.

But the workers mood became more somber when they learned the details of the deal.

After Jones met with the company, he learned that 350 of the 1100 jobs that were supposed to be saved were engineering jobs that company had planned to keep in Indiana all along and that 550 workers at the Indianapolis plant would still lose their jobs.

Carrier also planned to carry through with its plan to eliminate 700 jobs at its Huntington plant.

Jones reported that workers at the Indianapolis plant were devastated when they learned that 550 workers would be laid off.

A week later, Hayes told CNBC that the state’s $16 million investment in capital improvements would be used to automate work at the Indianapolis plant.

“We’re going to… automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” said Hayes to CNBC during an interview. “Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”

In an Op-Ed piece that appeared in the Washington Post, Jones expressed his anger at the false hopes raised by the deal and race-to-the-bottom mentality of corporations like United Technologies.

“These plants are profitable, and the workers produced a good-quality product,” writes Jones. “Because of corporate greed, though, company leaders are racing to the bottom, to find places where they can pay the least. It’s a system that exploits everyone.”

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