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Trump Slams Indy Union Leader Over Carrier Deal

Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers 1999, took phone calls from supporters Wednesday at his union office.

President-elect Donald Trump is slamming a union leader who criticized Trump's messaging on a deal to discourage air conditioner manufacturer Carrier from closing an Indiana factory and moving its jobs to Mexico.

Trump wrote in a tweet Wednesday evening, "Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!"

That local branch of USW represents workers at Carrier's Indianapolis plant.

Jones told the Washington Post in a story published Tuesday that Trump lied about how many Carrier jobs were saved by the deal, which included $7 million in state tax incentives.

“But he got up there,” Jones told the Post, “and, for whatever reason, lied his a-- off.”

Trump’s harsh words came the same night Jones called him out again on CNN, saying the President-elect lied to Carrier workers when he announced 1,100 of their jobs would be saved from going to Mexico. The final tally is closer to 800 — Jones says Trump unfairly included 350 additional jobs, which had long been saved, in his numbers.

After Trump's tweets, local media reported that Jones was receiving death threats.

Wednesday morning Jones was in his union office, smoking cigarettes and taking phone calls. He says he has to give Trump credit "for having spunk."

Jones says he did receive threatening phone calls from Trump supporters, which he shrugged off, but says once news got out of the harassment support started pouring in.

One caller from a church group in California told Jones, "I’m really, really sorry that this is happening to you.”

Jones reiterates that, despite what looks like a feud, he's thankful to Trump for working to save hundreds of jobs for Carrier workers.

“We’re not asking for a handout, by any means,” Jones says. “We’re just asking for an opportunity to work, and we’re seeing more of these jobs leave this country every day.”

In March, Vice President-elect Mike Pence tweeted his support for Jones after the two meet to discuss Carrier's plan to close the Indianapolis plant.

Jones’ friend, Indiana AFL-CIO president Brett Voorhies, says he feels the President-elect is showing union members and the public his true colors.

“What’s he doing to save the other jobs?” Voorhies says. “I mean, he’s lying about these jobs at Carrier, about the number of jobs there, and so what’s he going to do next?”

Voorhies says unions would work with Trump on reforms to stop outsourcing if he wanted to undertake them with members of Congress once in office.

IPBS reporter Annie Ropeik and WFYI reporter Drew Daudelin contributed to this report.

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