Pence: Carrier to keep 400 jobs in Indiana

Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN)
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Carrier Corporation told Gov. Mike Pence Wednesday it likes doing business in Indiana, but that's not enough to keep more than 2,000 jobs here.

The meeting at the Statehouse ended with a handshake at the front door of the Governor’s office.

"We had a real positive discussion," said Bob McDonough, president of Carrier's parent company United Technologies. He tried to put a good spin on the company closing down facilities in Indianapolis and Huntington, praising Indiana's "positive business climate" and condemning federal government red tape.

"We will continue to have a large presence here in Indiana. We love Indiana. We love doing business here. It's a real positive economic and business climate," he said after the closed-door meeting.

They like it so much, they plan to eliminate over 2,000 Hoosier jobs and move them to Mexico.

"What it is, pure and simple, is corporate greed. It's nothing about anything but that," Local Steelworkers 1999 President Chuck Jones said when he heard the news.

The workers who fear they will lose their jobs are not optimistic about keeping them. Neither is the governor.

"I don't want to create false hope," he told the media. "I wouldn't say I came away from the meeting more hopeful than when I went in," he cautioned.

"This is really about the hard-working people at these companies," Pence added. "We reiterated our commitment to be a part of ongoing discussions to keep jobs in Indiana."

The company did confirm it plans to keep 400 "good paying" research & development jobs in Indiana, and it will reimburse $382,000 in state training grants plus all local tax abatements received from Huntington and Indianapolis.

"I was very disappointed with the way this was handled by the company and I expressed that to them," Pence noted.

If that didn't hit home with the company, certainly running the gauntlet of media to get out of the statehouse did.

When WTHR's Kevin Rader asked McDonough if there was any chance of keeping the jobs in Indiana, the question was met with a deafening silence.

After he departed, the governor did what every politician who is running for reelection would do. He invited the soon-to-be displaced workers to meet with him.

"We are not going away quietly. We didn't pick this fight," Chuck Jones rationalized after the meeting with the Governor had concluded.

"This is corporate greed, so if they think we are walking away quietly they are wrong. Carrier is real image conscience and if we don't succeed in keeping these jobs, our mission is to ruin them and you can quote me on that," Jones explained.

He said Local 1999 will do just that by holding marches, protests and boycotts.

Carrier statement

"Carrier today met with Governor Pence, members of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and others to discuss the wide range of factors that informed its difficult decision to relocate manufacturing operations, as well as ways to best support its employees throughout the transition.

"The productive meeting touched on the continued migration of Carrier’s suppliers and competitors to Mexico, as well as ongoing cost and pricing pressures driven, in part, by evolving regulatory requirements and standards. The company also reaffirmed its intention to work directly with the appropriate state and local agencies to reach a resolution on repayment of tax incentives. 

"Carrier noted that the decision is not a reflection on the positive business environment in Indiana. The company is keeping 400 headquarters, engineering and marketing jobs in the area, and also continues supporting its distributors and contractors who employ thousands of people across the state. 

"Carrier will continue to focus on constructive discussions with the state of Indiana, as well as with the United Steelworkers to help provide security and certainty for the company’s Indianapolis employees throughout the transition."
 

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Workers react to the announcement (this may contain profanity):