INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Local manufacturing workers shared a strong message for President Donald Trump ahead of his State of the Union speech later this month: Make good on your campaign promises to America’s workers or pay for it politically.
“I’m sorry that people bought into his message,” said former local union president Chuck Jones. “He sold us a bag of [expletive], and now we’re stuck with him for a while.”
At a town hall hosted by Good Jobs Nation, Jones and Carrier employees facing another round of layoffs spoke about the importance of supporting politicians who they can trust to advocate for working people if the president and others in office won’t.
They believe their political capital is growing.
Jones is known nationally for feuding with the president over his failure to save as many jobs as he once claimed, despite Vice President Mike Pence working with state officials to provide a $7 million subsidy.
But Wednesday night, the long-time Democrat was joined by more Carrier workers who say they feel let down by the man they supported.
“I now feel betrayed, I feel angry and I feel forgotten,” said one of those laid off.
“He was the only candidate to talk about these forgotten men and women; to talk about unfair trade deals; to talk about offshoring, but the problem is; he didn’t deliver,” said Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Good Jobs Nation.
The workers hope the president hears them and acts this time.
Some said they hope and believe he’ll still fulfill the campaign promise that moved so many to support him, some even recounting standing in the pouring rain to wait to vote for President Trump.
“We all didn’t expect 100 percent to be saved,” said Duane Oreskovic, master assembly worker. “That was a given. But we expected a lot more to be saved than what was told, that he promised.”
At rallies and on Twitter, President Trump once claimed there was a 100 percent chance he could save more than a thousand jobs.
Union leaders say fewer than 800 remain, with 215 people clocking out today for the last time.
Duane Oreskovic is one of them. “I’m pissed and everyone’s sad because we’re all departing,” said Oreskovic.
He fears taking another manufacturing job, only to go through this same process again in a year or two.
Unless the president makes good on his promise to punish and tax companies that move American jobs out of the country, Oreskovic believes that’s exactly what will happen.
Oreskovic and others say they were disgusted to learn that during the president’s first year, data shows companies and even the federal government, have sent more jobs overseas under his watch.
They also accused him of handing a profitable company $7 million in state tax incentives and a $2 billion federal defense contract to keep several hundred jobs, instead of punishing them for taking jobs away as the president campaigned.
Many workers at the town hall say they’ll have their eyes glued to the screen during President Trump’s State of the Union, waiting to see what the president’s priorities are.
If he doesn’t indicate what his plans are for saving manufacturing jobs and when it will happen, many say they’ll make his party pay at the ballot box.
“Sign that executive order for offshoring,” said Oreskovic. “It’s an easy question. Are you going to sign it or are you not going to sign it? It’s a yes or a no. Yes you’re a hero; no you’re the enemy. It’s just that easy.”
The Democratic National Committee issued the following statement regarding the Carrier layoffs:
“A little over a year ago Donald Trump promised these very workers he would save their jobs. Hundreds of layoffs later, we now know he lied, and all for a quick photo op. Trump and Pence have claimed they would protect American workers, but the story in Indianapolis is the same story we are seeing all across the country. Tax cuts for the rich and big corporations is not a jobs plan. Fanfare and empty rhetoric will not help these workers whose livelihoods are on the line. American workers need real solutions and a president who is going to fight for them, even when the cameras turn off. While Trump and Pence continue their streak of broken promises, Democrats will continue to stand by American workers and fight to create more good-paying jobs right here in America.”