Carrier says it has deal with Trump to keep jobs in Indiana

Image of Carrier Indianapolis facility
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Air conditioning company Carrier Corp. says it has reached a deal with President-elect Donald Trump to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in Indiana. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence plan to travel to the state Thursday to unveil the agreement alongside company officials.

Trump confirmed the meeting on Twitter late Tuesday, promising a “Great deal for workers!”

Trump spent much of his campaign pledging to keep companies like Carrier from moving jobs overseas. His focus on manufacturing jobs contributed to his unexpected appeal with working-class voters in states like Michigan, which has long voted for Democrats in presidential elections.

The details of the agreement were unclear. Carrier tweeted that the company was “pleased to have reached a deal” with Trump and Pence to keep the jobs in Indianapolis.

Neither Wilbur Ross, Trump’s pick for commerce secretary, nor Steven Mnuchin — the banker picked to be treasury secretary — would discuss specifics about the agreement on Wednesday. But Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Trump and his administration are “going to have open communications with business leaders.”

He said Trump called the CEO of Carrier’s parent company and said it was “important to keep jobs here.”

Both Trump and Pence, who is ending his tenure as Indiana governor, are expected to appear with Carrier officials Thursday.

In February, Carrier said it would shutter its Indianapolis plant employing 1,400 workers and move its manufacturing to Mexico. The plant’s workers would have been laid off over three years starting in 2017.

United Technologies Electronic Controls also announced then that it planned to move its Huntington manufacturing operations to a new plant in Mexico, costing the northeastern Indiana city 700 jobs by 2018. Those workers make microprocessor-based controls for the HVAC and refrigeration industries.

Carrier and UTEC are both units of Hartford, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. — which also owns Pratt & Whitney, a big supplier of fighter jet engines that relies in part on U.S. military contracts.

In a September debate against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, Trump railed against Carrier’s plans.

“So many hundreds and hundreds of companies are doing this,” Trump said. “We have to stop our jobs from being stolen from us. We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States.”

Carrier wasn’t the only company Trump assailed during the campaign. He pledged to give up Oreos after Nabisco’s parent, Mondelez International, said it would replace nine production lines in Chicago with four in Mexico. He criticized Ford after the company said it planned to invest $2.5 billion in engine and transmission plants in Mexico.

Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents Carrier workers, said of Tuesday’s news: “I’m optimistic, but I don’t know what the situation is. I guess it’s a good sign. … You would think they would keep us in the loop. But we know nothing.”

The event Thursday in Indiana will be a rare public appearance for Trump, who has spent nearly his entire tenure as president-elect huddled with advisers and meeting with possible Cabinet secretaries. He plans to make other stops later this week as part of what advisers have billed as a “thank you” tour for voters who backed him in the presidential campaign.

Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) released a statement about the news:

This is welcome news for the Hoosier workers who will keep their jobs, and I’m eager to learn the specific details of the agreement. For many months I have been fighting alongside the Carrier workers and pushing to keep these jobs in Indiana. While this is good news, in Indiana alone, there are at least two other companies currently planning to move Hoosier jobs out of the country. We need to change our laws to encourage companies to grow here at home. I hope President-elect Trump will work with me toward this goal, so that companies will invest in the foundation of our economy: our workers and our communities.

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