Indiana heating and cooling company Carrier is eliminating more than 600 jobs from its Indianapolis facility, despite promises made as part of a deal with President Donald Trump to keep the positions in the U.S.
In a letter received by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development on Monday, Carrier said it isn’t closing the facility but the job eliminations will be permanent.
“This action follows a thorough evaluation of our manufacturing operations and is intended to address the challenges the business faces in a a rapidly changing industry,” Carrier Senior Human Resources Manager Steven Morris wrote in a letter announcing the move.
According to the letter, 338 employees will be eliminated by July 20. Another four will be let go by Oct. 1, and 290 will be out of work just before Christmas on Dec. 22.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Carrier is moving its fan coil production to Mexico. That move impacts plants in Indianapolis and Huntington.
Trump visited the plant in December as president elect as part of an effort to demonstrate that with him in office, American companies would no longer send jobs overseas. One of Trump’s key campaign promises was to return jobs, particularly blue-collar ones, back to the U.S. This appealed to many Trump voters who are working class.
In March, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. board voted to approve the $7 million package of grants and tax credits Trump helped broker, along with Vice President Mike Pence, who was then-governor of Indiana. That deal saw Carrier pledging to keep 1,069 workers in Indianapolis for 10 years and halt the moving of 700 jobs to Monterrey, Mexico.
“These companies are not going to be leaving anymore,” Trump said when he visited the Carrier plant on Dec. 1. “They're not going to be taking people's hearts out. They're not going to be announcing, like they did at Carrier, that they're closing up and moving to Mexico over 1,100 jobs.”
According to the Indianapolis Star, the layoffs announced by Carrier in its letter to the state was more than expected. The company has also said it expects to automate jobs to save money, which will lead to the elimination of more employees as machines take their places.
“Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No,” said Greg Hayes, CEO of Carrier’s corporate owner United Technologies. “But we will make that plant competitive just because we'll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”