Carrier union leader receives threats after Trump smears him on Twitter

Chuck Jones’ sin was speaking the truth about the Carrier deal.

CREDIT: CNN screengrab
CREDIT: CNN screengrab

Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers 1999 union that represents Carrier workers, told the Washington Post earlier this week that President-elect Donald Trump “lied his ass off” when he touted a deal he said would keep more than 1,100 jobs in Indiana during a December 1 news conference at Carrier’s Indianapolis plant.

Jones was right. Trump didn’t save 1,100 jobs. While the deal Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence struck with Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, will preserve about 730 union jobs and fewer than 100 nonunion jobs, another 600 union workers will be laid off. Trump’s inflated figure also took credit for more than 350 engineering positions that weren’t on the chopping block in the first place.

In exchange for keeping roughly 800 jobs in the state, Trump and Pence promised to dole out $7 million incentive package to a company that made a profit of $7.6 billion in 2015.

“We’re still losing 600-some-odd jobs, and taxpayers are going to have to reward a company that’s very profitable,” Jones told IndyStar last week.

For speaking out truthfully about the deal, Trump targeted Jones for Twitter abuse on Wednesday night.

In a subsequent interview with MSNBC, Jones pointed out that when his union was negotiating with Carrier ahead of the company announcing its initial decision to move the Indiana jobs to Mexico last February, he ultimately rejected an offer that would’ve resulted in union workers making less than the minimum wage while not receiving benefits. So it’s not like there was much more Jones could’ve done to get Carrier to keep jobs in Indiana.

But the veracity of Trump’s smears aside, his Twitter attack resulted in Jones receiving threats against himself and his family. From the Washington Post:

Half an hour after Trump tweeted about Jones on Wednesday, the union leader’s phone began to ring and kept ringing, he said. One voice asked: What kind of car do you drive? Another said: We’re coming for you.

He wasn’t sure how these people found his number.

“Nothing that says they’re gonna kill me, but, you know, you better keep your eye on your kids,” Jones said later on MSNBC. “We know what car you drive. Things along those lines.”

Trump’s decision to blame labor leaders for job cuts marks a break from the rhetoric he used during his campaign, when he consistently blamed the political establishment for not getting tough on companies that outsource.

Jones, for one, thinks some workers are already feeling betrayed.

“I’m going to assume that some [workers] would have thought twice before they would have voted for Mr. Trump,” Jones said on MSNBC. “The whole thing is ridiculous.”