President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team and Indianapolis-based Carrier announced a deal Tuesday to keep more than 1,000 jobs in Indiana.
Trump unveiled the details of that deal at a press conference at Carrier’s plant on the west side of Indianapolis Thursday afternoon.
Trump told workers he stepped in to save Carrier jobs after hearing on the nightly news a Carrier worker felt Trump promised to save those jobs. Trump addressed the worker’s father, who was in the crowd at Carrier.
“Whoever the hell your son is, these people owe him a lot,” Trump said.
Trump said Thursday he never made a campaign promise to save Carrier jobs, specifically. Instead, the president-elect said he was speaking euphemistically about manufacturing jobs in general.
Trump did pledge during the campaign to create to penalties for companies, like Carrier, take jobs elsewhere.
Carrier confirmed that Indiana offered the company $7 million in incentives over multiple years, contingent on “employment, retention and investment.” Vice President-elect Mike Pence credited Trump for Carrier’s decision to stay in Indiana.
“As governor I couldn’t be more pleased and grateful that thanks to President-elect Donald Trump, Carrier has decided to stay and grow in Indiana,” Pence said.
Gregory Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, also announced the company would invest $16 million in the Indianapolis plant over the next few years.
The company told workers earlier this year it planned to cut around 2,000 Indiana jobs and move operations to Mexico to save money.
A video of that announcement went viral, and the Carrier layoffs became a focal issue for Trump and other candidates on the campaign trail.
Brett Voorhies, president of the Indiana state AFL-CIO and a member of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, speculates Trump and Pence might have offered up more state or federal tax breaks. The Pence administration already made Carrier pay back $1.2 million in those because of the move.
Carrier stood to save $65 million a year by moving to Mexico, but state officials say tax incentives couldn’t have come close to making up the difference.
Another United Technologies-owned plan that in northeastern Indiana facing closure doesn’t seem part of the deal.
The closing of the 700-worker Huntington factory was announced the same day in February as the shuttering of the 1,400-worker Carrier plant in Indianapolis. Production from both plants was to be shifted to Mexico over the next few years.
Economic analysis the with Indiana Business Research Center Tim Slaper says he is doubtful other companies will pursue the same dealmaking with the president-elect. “Is it really all that valuable in terms of that making that decision?” Slaper says. “Because it is pretty small potatoes in the scheme of things.”
Huntington factory union local president Bill Davis tells WANE-TV he could tell from the announcement of Trump’s Carrier deal that it was only aimed at the Indianapolis jobs.
Huntington plant worker Mike Harmon says Trump only talked during his campaign about the Indianapolis factory and he feels the Huntington employees were forgotten.
The Associated Press and Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Drew Daudelin and Annie Ropeik contributed reporting to this story.