INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 16, 2016) – Carrier Corporation executives met with union representatives Tuesday to discuss the company’s plans to relocate 1,400 jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico.
News of the company’s intentions to move those jobs to Monterrey, Mexico, stirred anger among Hoosier workers last week. The heating and air conditioning company cited high costs as its reason for leaving the west side Indianapolis plant.
Chuck Jones with United Steelworkers said union representatives met with company officials for about an hour. Carrier executives reiterated that the move would save the company money by paying workers in Mexico significant lower wages. Workers will begin leaving the plant in 2017, and the facility will close in 2019.
Jones said more meeting were planned but no dates were set.
In addition to the Indianapolis facility, United Technologies Electronic Controls in Huntington said it will move operations and eliminate 700 jobs by 2018. Both that facility and the Indianapolis one are branches of United Technologies Corp., a Connecticut-based company.
Carrier received city and state tax incentives to keep its production plant in Indianapolis, and the news came as a complete shock to the 1,400 employees at the Indianapolis plant last week, especially considering the company agreed to a multi-million dollar expansion in 2011. The city provided a six-year tax abatement, which got Carrier out of paying nearly $1 million in city property taxes.
The decision to move has sparked a national backlash, and local and state leaders, including Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indianapolis), have criticized the relocation.
“If there have been incentives given to them that were based on commitments the company made, then we’re going to force them to honor their commitments,” Hogsett said last week.
Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement that neither Carrier nor its parent company gave advance notice to the state of its intention to move jobs out of Indiana. Pence directed the Department of Workforce Development to help workers affected by the move find new jobs.
Pence also instructed the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to review all incentive contracts to Carrier and United Technologies to “evaluate all options available to recover taxpayer investments.”
The IEDC offered Carrier $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. A majority of that money has been awarded. In 2010, the IEDC offered United Technologies $182,000 in training grants in 2010 and said that money had been awarded. Last year, United Technologies agreed on a contract offering up to $300,000 in training grants; the company has been de-obligated from that contract.
In 2013, Carrier was selected to receive $5.1 million in clean tax credits to ramp up production in Indy as part of a federal stimulus program. A company spokeswoman said the company wouldn’t claim that money, saying in a statement:
We are evaluating other grants and credits that have been awarded and will not retain or claim any credits for obligations that have not been met.