Carrier Layoffs Become 'Get Out The Vote' Tool For Unions

Aug 4, 2016

A supporter holds a sign at one of the first United Steelworkers rallies in Indianapolis after the Carrier layoffs were announced.
Credit Ryan Delaney/WFYI

Union leaders are shifting their focus to the election in the continuing fallout from Carrier's decision to move 1,400 jobs from Indiana to Mexico.

They hope their message -- that bad trade deals led to the job cuts -- will send workers to the polls in November.

In the nearly six months since Carrier's announcement, unions and politicians alike have used the layoffs to argue that free trade can hurt American jobs.

Now, with the Carrier move a done deal and under 100 days before the election, "we must get our members out to vote," said Chuck Jones, the president of the Indianapolis United Steelworkers that represents the laid-off Carrier workers.

 

Jones spoke on a press call Thursday with Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly (D), AFL-CIO national president Richard Trumka and others.

The AFL-CIO endorsed Hillary Clinton for president -- but with Donald Trump polling well among some union members, Trumka said, the union is upping its ground game in swing states, trying to change voters' minds about the Republican nominee.

 

"While he says one thing about trade, he's done exactly the opposite, and personally benefited from every bad trade deal that's out there," Trumka said. "We keep telling [members] the facts, and when they get the facts, they come back across the bridge."

 

He added they're also rallying those voters against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which Clinton and Trump both oppose.