It Didn’t Work Out

News comes today that despite President Trump’s heroic intervention to save the jobs of manufacturing workers at a Carrier plant in Indiana last winter, they’re basically all losing their jobs anyway.

From CNBC

More than 600 employees at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis are bracing for layoffs beginning next month, despite being told by President Trump that nearly all the jobs at the plant had been saved. The deal, announced with great fanfare before Trump took office, was billed not only as a heroic move to keep jobs from going to Mexico but also as a seismic shift in the economic development landscape.

Nearly seven months later the deal has not worked out quite as originally advertised, and the landscape has barely budged.

“The jobs are still leaving,” said Robert James, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999. “Nothing has stopped.”

In fact, after the layoffs are complete later this year, a few hundred union jobs will remain at the plant. But that is far different from what then-President-elect Trump said just three weeks after the election.

As the article goes on to explain, the devil turned out to be in the details. Carrier did commit to retaining 1,069 employees at the Indiana plant for a decade. But those aren’t going to be manufacturing workers. Most of those are engineering and technical positions that were never slated to be laid off anyway. Meanwhile, the money Carrier received in the deal is being invested in automation. So rather than investing in new production and jobs, as Trump promised, the money is going into automation which means replacing humans with jobs with machines.

To be clear, this is not terribly different from what has been happening in different ways in the US for decades – a mix of off-shoring and automation leading to substantial manufacturing production with fewer and fewer jobs, at least relative to the overall workforce. This deal however was supposed to be the exception, at least at this single plant.

It turns out that wasn’t true.

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