Trump Sees Progress in Effort to Keep Carrier Plant in U.S.By , , and
Factory’s move to Mexico would eliminate 1,400 jobs in Indiana
Twitter exchange follows president-elect’s statements on Ford
President-elect Donald Trump said he’s “making progress” in his effort to prevent Carrier from moving a factory abroad, an issue that had become a rallying cry during his campaign.
“Will know soon!” he said Thursday on Twitter, saying he was working even on Thanksgiving to keep the plant in Indiana.
Carrier replied with a tweet of its own, saying it had held discussions with Trump’s team and looked forward to working with the incoming administration. “Nothing to announce at this time,” said the company, which earlier this year said it would eliminate 1,400 jobs by relocating the plant’s manufacturing work to Mexico.
It was the second time in a week that the president-elect asserted that he had intervened to keep a manufacturing plant from leaving the country. Last week he said he helped persuade Ford Motor Co. to keep a plant in Kentucky, though the company said it never intended to close the facility.
The decision to move Carrier’s furnace factory garnered national notice after a worker’s cell-phone video of the announcement to employees took off on social media and generated criticism of Carrier parent United Technologies Corp. In April, Trump said he would impose a hefty tax on Carrier’s Mexican-made products and “within 24 hours, they’re going to call back: ‘Mr. President, we’ve decided to stay. We’re coming back to Indianapolis.”’
A representative of Farmington, Connecticut-based United Technologies declined to comment beyond Carrier’s tweet. Representatives of Trump’s transition team didn’t respond to a request for more information on the Carrier talks.
Carrier’s competitors have shifted production to Mexico in the last 10 years, United Technologies Chief Executive Officer Gregory Hayes said in a Nov. 1 speech before the Council on Foreign Relations. Acknowledging that the shift would have “impacts on real people in their lives,” Hayes said the company gave employees three years’ advance notice of the move and is providing training and education.
“Any UTC employee losing his or her job due to the impacts of offshoring will be given the opportunity to obtain a four-year college degree or technical training of their choice on our tab -- tuition, books, and fees,” he said. “We take our responsibility seriously.”
Last week, Trump tweeted that he helped persuade Ford to keep a Lincoln plant in Kentucky. The company clarified that it never intended to close the facility, located in Louisville, but instead was going to shift production of one of the models made there -- the Lincoln MKC small sport utility vehicle -- to Mexico.
The automaker would continue manufacturing the better-selling Escape in Kentucky, increasing production of that model, it said. Ford said it planned to keep employment at the plant near current levels.
During his presidential campaign, Trump regularly attacked Ford for plans to move its North American small-car production to Mexico, where wages at auto plants are typically about 80 percent lower than in the U.S. “So Ford is leaving,” he said in the first debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “You see that, their small-car division leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio, they are all leaving.”
Ford CEO Mark Fields responded at the time by saying the company would cut “zero” jobs as a result of the moves. “We’ve been adding jobs in the U.S. and we are the largest manufacturer of cars and trucks in the U.S.,” he told reporters last September.
Trump took credit for an earlier move by Ford -- its decision to build heavy duty F-Series trucks in Ohio rather than Mexico. “Frankly, I think I embarrassed them,” he said on the stump in New Hampshire in October 2015, adding, “every single person, even my harshest critics gave me credit for it.”
The move to the Ohio facility was called for under a labor deal Ford negotiated with the United Auto Workers in 2011.
Meanwhile, the transition team responded to a Wednesday report in the Washington Post that Trump had attended only two intelligence briefings since the election -- significantly fewer than had previous presidents-elect. Vice President-elect Mike Pence had received multiple briefings, the paper reported.
Jason Miller, Trump transition spokesman, said the president-elect is “receiving briefings and connecting with dozens of foreign leaders -- not to mention naming his cabinet and building out his team.”
Miller said the Post report was misleading and blamed it on “politicized” members of the intelligence community who are bitter they didn’t get jobs they thought they deserved.
— With assistance by Linly Lin