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Trump Criticizes Carrier Union Leader


U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at an event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dec. 1, 2016.
U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at an event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, Dec. 1, 2016.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump went on Twitter Wednesday to criticize the head of the local union that represents workers at the Carrier plant in Indiana where Trump recently touted a deal to keep jobs there from moving to Mexico.

Trump boasted that after negotiations, Carrier had agreed to keep 1,100 jobs in Indiana. He has celebrated the deal, which came with $7 million in tax breaks, while reiterating his campaign pledge to impose 35 percent tariffs on companies that move jobs out of the country.

The real number of jobs staying in Indiana is closer to 800, with Carrier still shifting some of its operations to Mexico.

Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, told VOA he was "glad" Trump is fighting to preserve jobs in the U.S. "Nothing was being said or done about these jobs leaving this country. All these people want is an opportunity to have a job."

Jones, however, told multiple media outlets that Trump is being misleading and inflating the number of union jobs saved in Indianapolis, adding that the actual number is 730.

"What nobody's mentioning is 550 people are losing their jobs," Jones told CNN.

Trump wrote on Twitter that Jones "has done a terrible job representing workers."

"If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working -- less time talking. Reduce dues," Trump said.

Asked about the tweets, Jones told CNN, "That wasn't very damn nice."

"These people are making a decent wage at Carrier, and I feel like I'm somewhat involved in making that happen, where he does everything he can to keep unions out in his hotels and casinos here in this country, depriving them of making a living wage," Jones said.

WATCH: Union president Chuck Jones

Union Leader Jones on Carrier Job Save, Taxpayer Cost
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While Jones said he appreciates Trump's efforts to preserve jobs for American workers, he is critical of the $7 million in tax breaks Carrier will receive in exchange for not sending jobs to Mexico. "I'm not in favor of taxpayers having to eat a lion's share of their tax money going to very profitable companies. In the Carrier situation, that's what's transpired. The taxpayers in Indiana are anteing up to a very profitable company to keep 730 jobs," Jones told VOA.

The Washington Post reported that Jones said he started to receive menacing telephone calls shortly after the tweets were posted.

Carolyn Presutti contributed to this report

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