As the one-year anniversary approaches of then President-elect Donald Trump’s splashy visit to a Carrier plant on the west side of Indianapolis, Indiana, to announce he saved at least 600 jobs, Chuck Jones feels betrayed.
Trump is now long gone and so are the jobs he claimed he was saving – to a foreign land.
The fact that saving the jobs was a Trumpian fantasy done for a momentary photo op is already known, but the impact on the workers at that plant and others nearby of job losses is a very personal story Jones shared today in an essay for The Washington Post.
Chuck Jones, union leader who feuded with Donald Trump, plans to retire https://t.co/LaQ2pAHGBD via @indystar Chuck has op ed in WAPO(paywall) confirming that Trump lied about jobs being saved at Carrier and United Technologies. When will other unions wake up & smell Trump's bs.
— Stefan (@tennis12007) November 29, 2017
Jones not only has worked for 48 years at the plant owned by Carrier parent United Technologies but also served as head of United Steelworkers local 1999 for 30 of those years, so he knows that world from the plant floor to the executive suite.
Jones muses with bitterness to that day after the 2016 election when he stood in front of Trump and VP-elect Mike Pence, former governor of Indiana, at a presidential victory rally.
“I realized that he was delivering a powerful message of hope not only to Carrier workers but also to all working people in America: You finally have a president who will fight for the interests of ordinary workers, Trump seemed to say.”
“A year later,” adds Jones, “we feel betrayed.”
For more than 600 workers at the plant, Trump said was saved, it will be a dark, depressing Christmas, as the final shift will work on the assembly line right after the holidays.
“The workers at Carrier aren’t the only ones who feel victimized by Trump’s false promises,” writes Jones, noting that another nearby United Technologies plant “is laying off 700 workers right up the road from the Carrier plant in Huntington.”
“And Rexnord, another plant in Indianapolis, just closed its doors, too.”
“Workers at both plants hoped that Trump would come to the rescue,” notes Jones with barely concealed anger, “but he never showed up.”
Over the past summer, Jones traveled across the Midwest to speak with hundreds of other manufacturing workers whose jobs have moved to foreign countries. They are among 91,000 jobs that Jones says Good Jobs Nation has tracked which have been lost since Trump took office, which is, he adds, the highest rate of jobs lost to outsourcing in five years.”
— pam (@vanity58) November 29, 2017
Many of the workers Jones met this summer in places like Racine, Wisconsin, and Kalamazoo, Michigan, were still wearing their “Make America Great Again” hats but he says they all “agreed that Trump hasn’t lived up to his end of the deal.”
“Workers across the country,” writes Jones, “feel like they too are victims of a false Trumpian bargain, in which they were invited to trade their votes to keep their jobs.”
“He pulled a bait-and-switch on us,” one angry worker told Jones.
Jones is convinced Trump has the power to stop “offshoring,” noting that since Trump took up residence in the White House, corporations that “offshore” American jobs have received “$21 billion in lucrative federal contracts.”
He says that means not only did Trump lie to the workers, but his administration is “rewarding companies that send jobs overseas.”
“The truth is that even though Trump has signed more than 100 executive orders since he took office,” adds Jones, “he has yet to sign a single one to stop offshoring by federal contractors.”
It isn’t a complete surprise to Jones. He recalls that last year he had met with the Carrier suits just before the president-elect spoke and they gave him information on how many jobs they expected would be saved.
“When Trump got on stage,” adds Jones, “he gave wildly inflated numbers.”
After Trump spoke, Jones shared with his fellow union members what he already knew: “Trump was lying his a– off.”
Trump responded by attacking Jones on Twitter, claiming, recalls Jones, “that I’m terrible at my job and that the loss of jobs in Indiana is my fault.”
After he told the truth about what was going to happen, Jones received a flood of angry retorts and even death threats from Trump fans.
“But I stand by my words,” says Jones. “A year after his election, Trump continues to lie about his commitment to saving jobs at Carrier or anywhere else. And workers are taking note.”
Chuck Jones, union leader at Carrier called out Trump for lying abt saving jobs. Trump attacked that American who was telling the truth. pic.twitter.com/IotZyPrpeY
— ∞ tat tva invicta ∞ (@_tatvamasi) July 1, 2017
Trump has never admitted he lied, apologized to Jones or done anything to actually help American workers whose jobs are headed to Mexico, China, Vietnam and elsewhere.
Trump Fans forget when Carrier UNion Boss caught Trump lying, Trumps Tweet caused HUNDREDS OF DEATH THREATS to Chuck Jones.
I didn't Forget! pic.twitter.com/3GFxdhZ7ot
— TrumpsSpursHurt (@USMCDD1) May 31, 2017
Jones’ message would fill anyone but Trump with anger, disgust, and rage, Jones final thought, however, is a sliver of light in the darkness.
If workers really do take note and vote against the candidates in local and state elections, and especially in November 2018 who are Trump’s co-conspirators, and then in 2020 vote against Trump when he runs for reelection, that light can get even brighter.
Trump will continue to lie because that is what liars do, but the American people, and especially American workers, need to remember that he can’t ever be trusted.