President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence allegedly struck a deal to keep jobs at air conditioning giant Carrier's Indianapolis plant from moving to Mexico, transition team officials told the New York Times on Tuesday. The deal will reportedly be announced at a Thursday press conference.
Carrier announced plans to move jobs to Mexico in February due to cost. After a long campaign spent pledging to bring back manufacturing jobs — including numerous explicit mentions of Carrier — Trump appears to be delivering on this Carrier-specific promise.
So what does Carrier get out of it? From the Tuesday Times report:
"In exchange for keeping the factory running in Indianapolis, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence are expected to reiterate their campaign pledges to be friendlier to business by easing regulations and overhauling the corporate tax code. In addition, Mr. Trump is expected to tone down his rhetoric threatening 35 percent tariffs on companies like Carrier that shift production south of the border."
Some are skeptical.
In a piece about Trump's general plans to keep Carrier jobs in the U.S. — published mere hours before the deal was reported — Washington Post opinion columnist Paul Waldman cautioned readers not to celebrate the alleged plans. He characterizes them as "a con" and a publicity stunt.
Trump's pledge to bringing back manufacturing jobs fails to recognize that jobs are disappearing due to other factors including technological advances and automation, Waldman argues.
"Trump is selling a vision of manufacturing as it was in the 1950s, where workers with modest skills went to work in factories that employed huge numbers of people in good-paying, secure jobs with excellent benefits. That world doesn’t exist anymore. In some cases it’s because those jobs have moved overseas, not because of bad deals, but because people in Mexico or China or Vietnam will work for wages Americans won’t accept...
"But the most important reason manufacturing jobs have disappeared is automation."
There's a bit of confusion about the fine-print of the alleged bargain.
Journalists and critics tweeted queries asking how many jobs will be saved and if the negotiations were with the state of Indiana — where Pence sits as Governor — or the Trump transition team.
ATTN: reached out to Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks. We will update this post if necessary.
You can read the full report on the New York Times.
Update 11/30 at 6:47 p.m. PST: ATTN: received the following statement from Carrier via email:
"Carrier has had very productive conversations in recent days with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence. We have negotiated an agreement with the incoming administration that we believe benefits our workers, the state of Indiana and our company. We are announcing today that Carrier will continue to manufacture gas furnaces in Indianapolis, in addition to retaining engineering and headquarters staff, preserving more than 1,000 jobs. Carrier will also designate its Indianapolis manufacturing facility as a Center of Excellence for gas furnace production, with a commitment to making significant investments to continue to maintain a world-class furnace factory. Today's announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate. The incentives offered by the state were an important consideration. This agreement in no way diminishes our belief in the benefits of free trade and that the forces of globalization will continue to require solutions for the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. and of American workers moving forward."