Friday, January 19, 2018

Señor Trumpanzee-- Working Class Hero?


Trump makes a big deal about keeping his campaign promises. And, unfortunately, the ones he wants to keep, he does try to keep. Sometimes the courts and occasionally, even Congress, keeps him from keeping the worst of them. His excuse for torpedoing the bipartisan DACA fix was that it flew in the face of one of his ugly outbursts of bigotry during the campaign. Now Ryan and McConnell are using his bizarre and incoherent approach as an excuse for not bringing popular DACA fixes to the floor of each house for a vote.

But on promise that was very specific, consistent, loud and very public during the campaign was his promise to the workers at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis. Looks like that's one he didn't really care much about-- or at least not enough about to do anything proactive once he had lost Marion County (Indianapolis) in 2016. Primary day was interesting there:
Hillary- 59,649
Bernie- 58,799
Trumpanzee- 49,835
Lyin' Ted- 39,557
Kasich- 9,633
And, despite Mike Pence's presence on the ticket-- or maybe because of it-- Hillary kicked his ass in the county. She beat him 212,676 (58.9%) to 130,228 (36.1%). Maybe he thought he shaped have won the state's biggest county. He did do better than Romney had though. And he certainly won the state-- and the Carrier workers-- who are unionized-- helped. I bet they're sorry now.
It was raining in Indiana's capital city on the day Renee Elliott and millions of other blue collar Americans stunned the world by helping to elect a Manhattan real estate mogul the 45th president of the United States.

But all Elliott saw that day was sunshine.

As she waited patiently in line to cast her vote, Elliott said she was buoyed by the belief that Donald Trump would make good on his campaign pledge and prevent her job at the Carrier plant-- the job that she said allowed her to escape an abusive marriage and live a modest but comfortable life-- from being sent to Mexico.

Now, very soon, Elliott will be standing in another line-- the unemployment line.

Elliott, 44, was one of the 215 workers at the Indianapolis plant who were given pink slips on Thursday. And to say she is disappointed by Trump would be an understatement.

“We all voted for him,” she said of herself and her Carrier co-workers. “We just thought he was going to protect our jobs. It sounded really good. And then, boom.”

Elliott doesn't know what she is going to do next. She has only a high school diploma to go along with the hairdresser license she earned before she got the job five years ago at Carrier, when she was studying to be a nurse.

“My five-year plan was to finish out nursing school and work on the line and take classes at night,” she said.

What Elliott does know is that it will be hard to find anything that will match the $18-an-hour she made as a press operator at Carrier-- and that whatever savings she had were eaten up raising two now-grown kids. Her 73-year-old mother, who had also been living with her, has moved in with her brother, who still has a job at Carrier.

“Being a paycheck away from being homeless is terrifying,” she said.

...Elliott’s fate was sealed long before she voted for Trump. The Carrier Company announced on Feb. 10, 2016, that it was closing its plants in Indianapolis and Huntington, Indiana, and moving the operations to Monterrey, Mexico.

It was during the first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton that Trump gave Elliott and her co-workers some hope that their lives and livelihood would be spared.

“We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people,” Trump declared. “All you have to do is take a look at Carrier air-conditioning in Indianapolis. They left-- fired 1,400 people. They’re going to Mexico.”

The exact details of what was happening at Carrier were somewhat different. But the gist of what Trump said on national television electrified the workers on the Carrier plant floor.

Suddenly, there was a savior on the horizon.

Until that moment, Elliott said she didn’t think much of Trump, the son of a wealthy real estate developer who was trying to cast himself as a working-class hero.

“When I first heard on the radio that he was going to run, you’re thinking, ‘He’s a billionaire and so forth,’” she said. “And I was thinking, ‘There’s no way, but he’s going to find a cause and pick it up and when he does he’ll change things. And little did I know we’ll be the cause.”

Elliott said workers began showing up for their shifts in red Make America Great Again baseball caps and she started seeing Trump bumper stickers and posters everywhere.

After the election, there seemed to be even more reason to cheer when a triumphant Trump and his running mate Mike Pence, then the governor of Indiana, announced that they had worked out a deal with Carrier's parent company, United Technologies, to save “more than a thousand jobs right here in the head of the Heartland.”

“Actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great,” Trump said.

Chuck Jones, the tough-talking Local 1999 steel worker president who spent decades fighting the exodus of good-paying American manufacturing jobs to countries like Mexico, said he didn’t buy what Trump was selling. Jones began working in the 1970s when 19.4 million Americans had manufacturing jobs, a number that had shrunk to fewer than 11.5 million when he recently retired.

“I didn’t vote for Trump,” he said. “And I kept on saying I think he’s full of shit.”

Privately, however, Jones hoped Trump would prove him wrong. He worked for the nearby Rexnord plant for more than 40 years before that operation was moved to Monterrey. And he knows a lot of the Carrier workers who had pinned their hopes on Trump. But as Trump spoke, Jones did the math.

“When Trump and Pence showed up here, they kept on referring to the fact they had saved over 1,100 jobs,” he said. “The people in the crowd thought that everybody was going to have a job. They misled the people.”

Jones said it was an especially cruel move because many of the Carrier workers had already made peace with the idea that layoffs were looming and were looking for other jobs.

“Then people went home that evening and told their families, ‘Everything is going to be all right. President Trump saved our jobs,’” Jones said.

The Carrier plant in Indianapolis will have a work force of 1,100 people after about 215 workers depart Thursday, “completing the final phase of the previously announced plan to relocate fan coil manufacturing production lines,” Ashley Barrie, a spokeswoman for United Technologies, said in an email to NBC News.

Also, Barrie added, the laid-off workers will “receive a one-time payment, severance pay and six months of medical insurance.”

“Since the initial announcement, approximately 60 impacted employees have chosen to take advantage of the company’s Employee Scholar Program and pursue degree programs,” Barrie said. “In addition to reimbursing four-year education costs, Carrier has also reimbursed, and will continue to reimburse, technical training costs for those who prefer to pursue a vocational technical certification program.”

Elliott said she was convinced her job was safe until some strangers from Monterrey showed up at the plant.

“Mexicans came in and some even came to me and asked questions, but I didn’t want to talk to them,” she said.

But other Carrier workers were forced to train those who would be doing their jobs for a quarter of the salary the Americans made.

“The Mexicans aren’t our enemy,” Jones said. “Pure and simple, corporate greed is driving it.”

...Come Friday, though, Elliott will be another unemployed American factory worker. “At my age, I don’t have the confidence to start all over again,” she said.
Virginia Foxx's opponent in North Carolina's 5th district, Jenny Marshall grew up in a small town in Indiana. She told us that she "saw first hand the damage NAFTA had on our town and in the communities across our country. The effects were swift and brutal. Companies packed up and left town seeking out cheap labor in foreign countries. My father was a tool and die maker in a plant that employed hundreds of people in a town of just 17,000. When they closed and shipped their jobs out of the country it caused a ripple effect of businesses closing across the town. It was devastating. We must end these disastrous free trade policies that allow companies to shutter plants just to import those products back into the United States to be sold to the people who used to make them. And we cannot expect people to pick up the pieces and find a new career time and time again. It is a simple case of companies prioritizing profits over the people who work for them. I say enough is enough. It is high time our laws actually protect the people instead of a company's bottom line."


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At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about Ms. Elliot's predicament, truly.

However, she has only herself to blame. She is one of 62 million who are just too goddamn stupid to function. When the electorate is this goddamn stupid (and an awful lot of them are kkk/Nazi evil), the government they elect cannot ever be any good.

since when do republicans give a flying fuck about jobs? decent pay? women?
hint: republicans care only about the corporations.

since when did trump EVER give a flying fuck about anyone but himself and his money?
hint: never.

not that a vote for $hillbillary would mean any different. but delusional hope that a republican and a trump would keep a promise is just goddamn stupid.

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With government clearly owned by corporate money, how would any hourly worker believe that a person whose wealth is from investment is going to act against his interests and cost profit to the corporations in which he owns shares?

Anyone paying attention since Carter began the deregulation of corporations should have been noticing how the stock price of a company rose every time a layoff was announced. Investors LOVE when a company finds ways to reduce labor costs. Since the price of the product or service is NEVER reduced, this means more profit, and the investors are first in line to get a piece of that action.

The Carrier workers had access to the same news the rest of us had. They could have decided to look at the available evidence that Trump was actually as much a liar as he claimed Hillary was (not that she isn't). They could have seen that he is a multiple bankruptcy filer in an industry which has a built in advantage against the customer (gambling). They could have watched The Apprentice to see what kind of a base schmuck Trump was as a manager.

But NO! The shut off their brains and went on that faith that they still follow every Sunday despite there being no proof it actually does any good.

I thought about being mean and linking to the clip of Bluto advising Flounder about his poor decision to trust his frat bros. Then I thought about the scene from "Life Stinks", where Goddard Bolt confronts his legal staff after they betrayed him (It's not on YouTube, so don't look for it). Their lame response? "We're lawyers."

Then this came to mind:

Own it, Carrier Workers.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger CNYOrange said...

Problem is, what was Hillary going to do? The same god damn thing, and offer a lame solution of "more/better education" - what shit. Another problem these companies don't consider themselves American anymore, they don't give a shit about the country or the people living here.


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