Thursday was the last day of work for hundreds of Carrier Corporation workers. The Carrier fan coil manufacturing facility in Indianapolis has begun laying off 338 employees. The layoffs are part of the previously announced plan, the company said in a statement.
The company said in the statement, “As previously announced, in total, this transition will impact approximately 600 Indianapolis jobs over the next several months.” Those plans include the elimination of four salaried positions in September and an additional 290 employees to be terminated three days before Christmas on December 22nd, 2017.
The company became a political target during the recent U.S. presidential campaign. Last year, Carrier’s parent company United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) said it planned to move production Mexico, laying off about 1,400 employees. In February, a cellphone video a worker took of the announced relocation went viral. Voters who wanted jobs to stay in America were outraged.
In an April 2016 speech, president-elect Donald J. Trump said “If I were in office right now, Carrier would not be leaving Indiana.” In late November, Trump announced that he and Vice-President elect Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, had worked out a deal for Carrier to keep 1,100 jobs in the state. He ended up saving about 800 jobs from being outsourced. One Indiana nonprofit has sued the state for details about how the agreement was negotiated.
The company said in its statement, “Carrier continues to honor its 2016 commitment to employ approximately 1,100 associates in Indianapolis.” As part of the deal, the company also promised to invest $16 million in the facility. Local officials said Carrier would receive $7 million in tax incentives in return for keeping some of the jobs in the state for the next decade.
All affected employees will receive a one-time payment, severance, and six months of medical insurance. The employees will also be able to apply for jobs elsewhere in the company and the company noted that more than 30 of the workers will be taking advantage of job retraining programs. Carrier says it will reimburse four-year education costs and also reimburse for any technical training for those pursuing a certification program.
Robert James, the president of the local steelworkers’ union, said emotions at the plant are mixed. James is keeping his job as a forklift driver. TJ Bray, an insulator at Carrier and a spokesman for the local union that represents the factory’s employees, said, “We’re definitely glad that some of the jobs are definitely staying, and we’re just still very disappointed that we’re still losing a lot of folks.” Bray’s job was also saved.
The eliminated positions will still be shifted to Mexico. Moving production to Mexico is attractive to companies because Mexican workers make in a day what the equivalent American worker would make in an hour. The company expected to save an estimated $65 million a year had it moved all of the jobs it initially intended to.