Donald Trump and Mike Pence spent a lot of time last year talking up their amazing deals with Carrier to keep over 1,000 jobs at an Indiana plant in the United States. The president also took credit for a deal that would keep Ford from moving Focus production to Mexico. The bad news is that Ford is now going to start manufacturing the Focus in China and a good chunk of those Carrier jobs will end up being replaced by automation with other layoffs beginning later this year. As CNBC puts it, the deals are not living up to the hype.
Carrier is about to cut 600 manufacturing jobs, the same jobs that were at the center of many campaign promises made by the president. That might surprise Trump supporters who felt he was starting off his presidency strong, brokering a big deal for the American people before he was even in office. But those with closer ties to the Carrier plant tried to warn that the deal wasn’t all it was chalked up to be. Union leaders tried to explain back in December that Trump’s boasts didn’t add up—literally. “Trump and Pence, they pulled a dog and pony show on the numbers,” said United Steelworkers 1999 president Chuck Jones. “For whatever reason, [Trump] lied his a– off.”
A Carrier spokesperson confirmed that 350 of those jobs were engineering and technical positions that were never at risk for going overseas or across the border to Mexico. Only 730 of the 1,069 jobs included in the 10 year Indianapolis Carrier deal were in manufacturing, which involved state incentives of $7 million in subsidies. Carrier itself invested $16 million in the facility, but as United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told CNBC, much of that money was going to automating its manufacturing processes — something that was hinted at back in December. Six months later, 338 jobs will be cut starting July 20 and another 290 will be terminated close to a year after Trump’s famous first deal as president-elect, which is also three days before Christmas.
Over in the automotive sector, similar changes are taking place. Ford will be moving manufacturing of the Focus model to China six months after Trump was famously tweeting threats at General Motors over where its brands were manufacturing their cars. Trump also threatened 35% tariffs to automakers who went overseas. The president hasn’t indicated yet if he’s going to hit Ford with that penalty for its recent decision or if he will try to spin this as Ford heeding his Twitter edicts against auto manufacturers working out of Mexico. It might simply be that the news is recent and there are bigger problems at hand, like the frothing opposition to the GOP’s healthcare bill or Trump’s attempts to formulate a workable budget.
With this news, though, it would seem that some of the biggest achievements of the Trump administration could be null before the end of the year. The decisions by Carrier and Ford are sure to leave most employees uncertain about their future.