Weeks after Carrier deal, Trump ignores Indiana factory relocating to Mexico

He may have kept 800 Carrier jobs in Indiana, but thousands more are slated to be moved abroad.

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence tour a Carrier plant. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence tour a Carrier plant. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President-elect Donald Trump struck a high-profile deal with air conditioning and heating giant Carrier that will end up saving under 800 Indiana jobs that would have been moved to Mexico, and he touted the deal as following through on a campaign promise to keep manufacturing jobs from moving overseas. But it’s already clear that he can’t stop most of the factory jobs that are slated to leave the United States.

In the very same state as Carrier, ball bearings and valve manufacturer Rexnord has officially notified the Indiana government that it will lay off 350 employees and permanently close a factory in Indianapolis starting in February. The factory jobs will be relocated to Mexico; just 25 office jobs will remain. The company says about half of its total workforce is in the United States.

In announcing his deal with Carrier, Trump had promised to stop such relocations. “We’re going to have a lot of phone calls made to companies when they say they’re thinking about leaving the country, because they’re not leaving this country,” he said. “The workers are going to keep their jobs.”

Trump had also indicated on Twitter that he might intervene with Rexnord to stop the jobs from leaving, saying it was “rather viciously” firing the works and vowing, “No more!”

But he hasn’t mentioned it again since the company officially notified the state about the layoffs. According to Chuck Jones, president of the union that represents both Carrier and Rexnord workers, Trump hasn’t talked to Rexnord about the layoffs. “I’ve reached out to him numerous times through the media and said if he’s sincere about keeping the jobs here in this country, we’d be grateful to sit down and see if we could get it worked out,” he told USA Today. “We haven’t heard nothing. As far as we know, Rexnord and him haven’t talked about anything.”

Other companies in the state will also soon begin layoffs as they move production outside of the country. Electronics company Harman International plans to cut 125 jobs by January and shift them to Mexico; auto parts manufacturer CTS Corp will cut 230 jobs and move them overseas.

These companies are all are part of a much larger trend. At least 3,660 jobs are slated to be eliminated in the United States and moved to other countries in just Indiana alone, according to a Reuters analysis of government data.

In general, manufacturing jobs have been on a long decline. Employment in Indiana’s manufacturing sector is down 7.4 percent since early 2007. Across the country, the sector has lost about 4.95 million jobs over the last two decades. As factory production has bounced back from the recession, employment hasn’t.

Even the deal with Carrier proved the limits of what Trump can accomplish in keeping individual factory jobs in the United States with tailored deals. Carrier will still send 1,300 to Mexico while reaping the state incentives it was promised as part of the negotiations with Trump’s team.