Union Leaders Mull Next Moves Amid Job Cut Talks

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Pence met with union officials following his meeting with UTC leaders Wednesday. Pence met with union officials following his meeting with UTC leaders Wednesday.
INDIANAPOLIS and HUNTINGTON -

Local union leaders representing workers at Carrier Corp. in Indianapolis say Governor Mike Pence told them that officials with United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) say "the door is still open to talks that could lead to jobs staying." Pence and state officials met Wednesday with UTC leaders to discuss the decision to relocate manufacturing operations, and some 2,100 jobs, to Mexico from Indianapolis and Huntington. United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones and Business Representative Kelly Hugunin sat down with the governor immediately following the UTC meeting.

Hugunin said the governor was "very supportive" in the meeting with regard to helping the union arrange bargaining talks with the company. "If it comes about that we're unsuccessful in changing their minds and keeping the jobs here," Hugunin said Pence reiterated that the state would provide a slate of training and other resources for displaced workers.

Jones said state officials told him two things he doesn't believe are true during Wednesday's meeting at the Statehouse. He said the assertion that federal  regulations are a major factor, as Pence said in his post-meeting news conference, are "not true." Jones added that claims UTC officials made in the meeting that they tried to reach out to the union are also false. Jones says the meeting between state officials and the company came up unannounced and the 30 minute discussion with Pence happened unscheduled following a news conference.

USW officials are meeting Thursday to formulate a game plan for the days ahead.

Carrier Corp. officials released a statement Wednesday about the meeting with the state:

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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