A former Steelworkers union boss has blasted Donald Trump as a "con man," an "idiot" and a "liar" as Indianapolis air-conditioning and furnace company Carrier Corp. laid off 215 more workers Thursday. The company has sent a third of its jobs to Mexico since Trump boasted a year ago about a $7 million state tax incentive deal for the company to keep jobs in the U.S.
"I think everybody ought to respect the president of the United States and the office he holds. But Donald Trump is a liar and an idiot," Chuck Jones, former president of United Steelworkers 1999, said at an Indianapolis town hall meeting on Wednesday that was streamed live on Facebook.
"When he was saying these jobs would not be leaving this country, not at any point in time did he say, 'I'm bringing back my jobs I've got outside the country. I'm going to bring back my daughter's jobs,'" added Jones, referring to overseas manufacturing for Trump and Ivanka Trump products. "He's a pure and simple con man ... and I'm sorry people bought into his message. He sold us a bag of shit, and now we're stuck with it," Jones added, The New Yorker reported.
The town hall meeting was organized by labor advocacy group Good Jobs Nation so workers could vent about the latest round of cuts and the administration's lack of action.
Trump attacked Jones in a Tweet just over a year ago when Jones expressed skepticism about the Carrier deal. Jones received death threats after the tweet.
Trump boasted that the massive state tax break that former Indiana governor and current Vice President Mike Pence helped negotiate would save 1,100 jobs. In fact, Carrier's parent company, United Technologies, will keep only 730 production jobs and 70 salaried workers at the Indianapolis plant. In addition, all 700 workers at Carrier's Indiana circuit-board plant in Huntington are losing their jobs.
"He got up there and for whatever reason, lied his ass off," Jones said at the time. "Trump and Pence, they pulled a dog-and-pony show with the numbers."
Carrier's Indianapolis plant already sliced 340 jobs in July. The total workforce has now dropped from 1,600 to 1,100 with the newest round of cuts, with all of the jobs going to Mexico at a fraction of the hourly rate. Carrier has also agreed to invest $16 million to increase automation at the plant - and that will ultimately mean even fewer jobs, its CEO has admitted, The Associated Press reported.
"Our wizard of an ex-governor, Mike Pence, thought it would be a wonderful idea if taxpayers of Indiana anted up $7 million to give to ... Carrier because they are keeping 730 jobs here in the state," Jones noted at the town hall meeting. "Whether you guys realize it, some of your tax money is not going to schools and stuff like that. It's going to a very profitable corporation. … That's wrong."
Jones was joined at the Good Jobs Nation town hall by several angry Carrier workers.
"We all didn't expect 100 percent [of jobs] to be saved," said Duane Oreskovic, master assembly worker. "That was a given. But we expected a lot more to be saved than what was told, that he promised."
Speakers also questioned why no one in the administration seemed concerned about the loss of other Steelworker union jobs. One speaker asked about Carrier's other 700 jobs in Huntington. Rexnord Corp., also in Indianapolis, closed in November, leaving a total of 300 people without work. Jobs from both of the companies were sent to Mexico.
"How do you save 730 jobs at Carrier and not give a damn about the 700 jobs in Huntington? Both owned by the same company. Why would you leave them out of the equation?" asked Robert James, current president of the local United Steelworkers union.
In response to angry workers, the White House again touted the jobs that were saved.
"The president was proud that he was able to help save the jobs of 1,100 Americans from being shipped to Mexico by overseeing a deal between United Technologies and the state of Indiana," the White House said in a statement Thursday.