President Donald Trump made a “deal” to save the jobs at the Carrier plant in Indiana but workers lost their jobs to Mexico anyway.
Fifty-six-year-old Jim Shalle doesn’t want to complain but things aren’t going well, The New York Times reported.
“I’m a routine guy, and I’m not boohooing,” he said. “But I feel used up.”
Unfortunately, Jim isn’t alone. His colleague Pat is still working for Carrier but with production ending just after Christmas, she knows her days are numbered. She’s been with the company for 40 years after graduating from high school, as did her daughter, who is now 33 years old.
“I loved my job,” she said. “It’s all I’ve ever known.”
While then-Gov. Mike Pence bribed Carrier with a hefty tax break deal, instead of 1400 jobs heading to Mexico — that number is more like 800. Both Jim and Pat thought they’d be OK, but the plant in Huntington wasn’t part of the deal. The so-called “buy American” mandate and federal infrastructure projects Trump has promised also wouldn’t do anything to help.
Huntington remains strong in manufacturing, however, with 21 percent of the city working in the industry. To put that in context, 90 percent of the counties in the United States don’t even reach that.
Yet, most of the workers don’t blame Trump for being unable to save their jobs, despite taking credit for doing so.
“I support him 100 percent,” 27-year-old veteran Tami Barnett told The Times. She left Carrier at the end of March. “I was very pleased he saved the jobs in Indianapolis. Do I wish he could have saved mine? Absolutely. But he did his best.”
“I’m glad he stepped in, but it’s a letdown,” said 55-year-old Susan Cropper. She’s still glad she voted for Trump, however, and blames Carrier and the executives.
Brooks Fetters serves as the city’s mayor and despite reaching out to Pence’s office multiple times, he never heard back.
“Right or wrong, that’s where we are. We’re not in panic mode,” Fetters said. After all, “German stoicism runs deep in northern Indiana, and you take your lumps.”
The town isn’t becoming a failing manufacturing hotspot the way Trump described some Pennsylvania cities during the election. A $1.4 million expansion to the high school has given many a job by retraining residents to do metalworking.
Still, if you’re not a skilled worker, you’re out of luck. The mayor explained he doesn’t have a lot of opportunities for “those who can just use a rake and a shovel.”
Jim’s $17,700 severance package does little to cover expenses after taxes and medical expenses come out. But now he has to start over at another factory.
Tami saw it as a “slap in the face” after she and her colleagues “made the company billions in profits.”