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Cash, Promises From Trump Enticed Carrier to Keep Plant in Indiana

  • VOA News

Air conditioning units are stacked outside the Carrier Corp. plant, in Indianapolis, Nov. 30, 2016.

Air conditioning units are stacked outside the Carrier Corp. plant, in Indianapolis, Nov. 30, 2016.

Air conditioner maker Carrier said it received financial incentives from the Midwestern state of Indiana and a promise from President-elect Donald Trump to improve the U.S. business climate in return for the firm's pledge to keep about 1,000 jobs in the U.S.

The heating and air conditioning company, a unit of the industrial and military conglomerate United Technologies Corp., said earlier this year it was planning to move about 1,400 jobs to Mexico. But now Carrier apparently has agreed to save the jobs of about 1,000 Indiana workers, following talks with Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, who is still Indiana's governor.

No specific details have yet been released, but Trump and Pence are scheduled to announce the deal Thursday at Carrier’s plant in Indianapolis.

A few hours after their visit to Indiana, the victorious Republican team will appear at a campaign-style rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump's campaign organization calls the event the kickoff of his "USA Thank You Tour."

On Twitter, Trump cheered that a “Great deal for workers!” had been reached; the company said it is “pleased to have reached a deal.”

However, neither Trump nor Carrier disclosed the fine points of the agreement, such as what workers might have to give up to keep their jobs, what threats or incentives were used to get the manufacturer to reverse course, or whether Carrier's parent company will move other jobs from a separate Indianapolis plant to Mexico.

Trump may have had some leverage over United Technologies, which also owns a company that supplies fighter jet engines and relies in part on U.S. military contracts.

The deal is a win for Trump, who made frequent promises during his campaign for president that he would prevent companies from moving jobs outside the country, and bring back jobs that already have been lost, by imposing stiff tariffs on the companies' products for sale in the U.S.

United Technologies, citing a need for more cost effective operations, said in February it would relocate operations from the two Indianapolis plants to Monterrey, Mexico, sometime around 2019.

Someone captured video of a Carrier official informing employees of the moving plan, and the footage went viral after being posted to YouTube.

Trump seized on Carrier as part of his campaign speech during his run for president.

“When Carrier, that left here, goes to Mexico,” Trump told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Indianapolis, “and they want to sell their product, across the border, and no tax, no nothing, we’re going to say, sorry folks!”

Local union leaders expressed appreciation for Trump highlighting their cause.

"We really appreciate him doing that. It’s really getting the message out," Chuck Jones, President of United Steelworkers Local 1999 in Indianapolis, the union representing Carrier workers, told VOA in April.

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