Those who work for Carrier have learned the costs of global trade on a personal and financial level after the company suddenly announced a move to Mexico.
“We have to look around the corner and see how this market will change in order to invest and stay in business for another 100 years,” explained Robert McDonough, a senior executive at Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies. “You can blink and see your market position erode.”
However, the loss is only part of a long line of lost manufacturing jobs in America. The New York Times states that “advances in technology, the diffusion of industrial expertise around the world, the availability of cheap labor and the rise of China as a manufacturing powerhouse would have disrupted the nation’s industrial heartland even without new trade deals,” listing these as the main reasons why companies like Carrier leave the country.
Carrier chose to move, even though the Department of Energy claimed the company earned $5.1 million from President Barack Obama’s stimulus program. Local media reported the “Department of Energy awarded Carrier $5.1 million in clean energy tax credits in December 2013” for its Indianapolis facility. It planned to use the money to “expand production at its Indianapolis facility to meet increasing demand for its eco-friendly condensing gas furnace product line.” Carrier denied it received any money.
The Carrier workers have also discovered that other jobs in Indianapolis do not pay as well. The new Amazon plant only pays $15 an hour instead of the usual $20 at Carrier. Carol Bigbee, 59, earned $22 an hour.
“I think it will be extremely hard to find a job that pays $22 an hour,” she said. “You have to be really blessed to find a job that pays that kind of money.”
Carrier insists the move “is strictly a business decision.” It decided last month to move 1,400 jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico, starting in 2017.
“Today’s surprise announcement was without warning and incredibly disappointing,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett, adding:
While I am obviously concerned about the economic impact, my top priority is the well-being of the hardworking families affected by this decision. A job lost in any part of our community affects us all, and I believe these are the times we must come together as one city to lift up our neighbors.
The move even united Democrats and Republicans.
“As governor, I was profoundly disappointed to learn that Carrier Corporation and United Technologies would relocate jobs and operations to Mexico, costing hard-working Hoosiers more than 2,100 jobs,” stated Governor Mike Pence. “My heart goes out to all the families and communities that are affected by this news.”
Democratic Indianapolis council member Zach Adamson told the media the company he uses to heat his house “does not want Mexican-made Carrier products.” Adamson also insisted Indianapolis must “claw back the incentives and benefits they have received to be here.”