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Union leader, Trump clash over Carrier deal

By
Allen Cone
Carrier Corp. and President-elect Donald Trump's administration announced a deal last week that will keep the company's manufacturing facilities in Indianapolis. Members of the United Steelworkers protested the possible job losses at the Indiana State Capitol in April. Trump criticized Chuck Jones, the president of Local 1999 of the United Steelworkers union in Indianapolis, after the union leader said he lied about the number of jobs saved. Photo by United Steelworkers/Flickr.com
Carrier Corp. and President-elect Donald Trump's administration announced a deal last week that will keep the company's manufacturing facilities in Indianapolis. Members of the United Steelworkers protested the possible job losses at the Indiana State Capitol in April. Trump criticized Chuck Jones, the president of Local 1999 of the United Steelworkers union in Indianapolis, after the union leader said he lied about the number of jobs saved. Photo by United Steelworkers/Flickr.com

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- An Indiana union leader said Thursday he has no regrets about calling out President-elect Donald Trump about the number of jobs saved at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis.

"He didn't tell the truth. He inflated the number, and I called him out on that," Chuck Jones, the president of Local 1999 of the United Steelworkers union in Indianapolis, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on New Day.

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Jones told media outlets earlier this week that Trump was "lying his [expletive] off" about claims he had saved 1,100 jobs at Carrier, a manufacturer of air conditioners and furnaces. Actually, only 800 factory jobs were saved and the others were white-collar administrative and engineering positions at a different Indianapolis facility that Carrier didn't plan to move to Mexico. The company still plans to shift 600 jobs to Mexico to build fan coils.

On Wednesday night, Trump posted twice on Twitter, writing, "Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!" Then in another tweet: "If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues."

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On Thursday, Jones conceded his choice of words "wasn't the best."

And Jones said he is happy Trump got involved in negotiations with Carrier.

The union leader told The Indianapolis Star that Trump's Twitter posts mean he was doing his job. "First of all, that means I'm doing, and we're doing, as labor representatives, the best we can for the people to give them a living wage and good benefits," Jones said. "No, what he says, that don't bother me."

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Jones told the Indianapolis Star he had been getting threats since his comments were published.

"Calling me names, wanting to know if I have children," he said. "I better watch out for myself, and they know what kind of car I drive, that I better watch out for my kids."

On Thursday he said to CNN: "I've been doing this job 30 years. I had a lot more serious threats than people are making now. I have a thicker skin than I did many years ago. Everybody has a right to their opinion. I'm not overly upset about it."

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Trump visited Carrier's plant last week.

Vice President-elect Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana, and Greg Hayes, CEO of Carrier parent company United Technologies negotiated the deal.

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As part of the deal, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Carrier up to $7 million -- $5 million in conditional tax credits, up to $1 million in training grants for workforce development, another $1 million in tax credits if it invests in the Indianapolis location.

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