The head of a union representing hundreds of Carrier Corp. employees in Indianapolis that could be out of work in the next few years says suppliers throughout the country are prepared to take their business elsewhere. United Steelworkers Local 1999 President Chuck Jones says he has heard from numerous businesses that tell him "they’re not going to do business with a company that would do that to their employees." He met this week with Carrier Corp. executives. A bipartisan group of elected officials is also calling for a discussion.
He says feedback from suppliers has come in from throughout the state, Midwest and nationally, including suppliers from state’s like Florida. The message from these other companies is they will not longer offer Carrier products if the company doesn’t reverse course on its decision to take work to Mexico.
Employees at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis and the United Technologies Electronic Controls Inc. headquarters and engineering center in Huntington, also a subsidiary of Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), were told last Tuesday that the relocation of manufacturing at these facilities was coming. If complete, the plans would cost around 2,100 Hoosier jobs. Jones says employees are "bewildered." He says "they don’t know what they did to deserve this. What we try to tell them is ‘you didn’t do anything. You put out a good product, the company was profitable and it’s not due to anybody’s lack of effort that this facility decided to go elsewhere.’ It’s due to unfair trade and corporate greed, plain and simple."
Jones says the company explained it needs to move to Mexico in order to keep pace with competitors that have made the same decision. Wages also played into Carrier’s call. Jones says wages for Mexican workers are around $3 per hour, while Hoosiers make an average of $20 an hour.
He tells Inside INdiana Business the fight to keep the jobs in Indiana is not yet over.