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Indianapolis Union Leader Takes Stock Of What's Changed During Trump's First Year


Tomorrow marks one year since President Donald Trump took the oath of office. While he was campaigning, he promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. And shortly after the election, he seemed to be following through. At a rally in Indianapolis, he announced a deal to prevent more than a thousand factory jobs at the Carrier plant from moving to Mexico.


But one local union leader didn't buy it - Chuck Jones. At the time, Jones was president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represented workers at Carrier. Jones went on CNN to dispute Trump's claims. Trump fired back on Twitter, calling Jones out by name. Earlier today, I talked to Chuck Jones to hear his perspective on U.S. manufacturing one year into the Trump administration. And I first asked him if he thinks Trump has kept manufacturing jobs from moving overseas.

CHUCK JONES: That's what he campaigned on. That's what he got elected on, based on his promises to working-class people. And his first year in office, there was 93,000 jobs that were offshored out of this country. So no, it's been worse than what I think a lot of us even thought it would be.

MCEVERS: Trump had a lot of support during the election from working-class people in the Midwest.


MCEVERS: I mean, do you think that support is still there?

JONES: No. You know, I talk to quite a bit of people, you know, on a weekly basis for the most part. And when, you know, the primary was over and it was Hillary and Trump, I had people come to me at the time and say, hey, you know, I don't like Hillary. I don't trust Hillary. And I'm not voting for Hillary. Trump's saying that he's going to keep jobs here in this country. I'm going to vote for him.

So a lot of people that were lifelong Democrats bought into his message. And they're telling me now, you know, they feel betrayed. They feel like - that he was just playing them. You know, he had no intent - because we're not seeing anything that shows that he's trying to keep jobs here in this country. And I didn't vote for the man.

MCEVERS: Are you a Democrat?

JONES: I'm a Democrat. But on the same token, if I really would've believed that Donald Trump or somebody else would keep jobs here in this country, you know, I'm not to the point where I'm - I wouldn't have maybe considered it.

MCEVERS: You know, what do you say to people who say, look; the economy is changing; going forward, the future of the American economy is not going to be one based on manufacturing? How would you solve that?

JONES: Donald Trump is the master of executive orders. He could sign an executive order tomorrow that would say something in essence that if a corporation - I'm going to use Carrier, UTC - if they move jobs out of this country they would not be able to get government contracts, OK? And the reason I'm using Carrier - and they're a prime example - prior to the move, they had over 5 billion in military contracts through Pratt Whitney (ph). They moved the 700 jobs out of Huntington. They moved the 600 jobs out of here in Indianapolis. And what happens? They're rewarded another 2 billion in military contracts. Now, that's just wrong, pure and simple wrong.

MCEVERS: What do you think about - going forward, you know, for people in your community, what do you think's going to happen?

JONES: Well, it's going to be horrible. A lot of the people live by the plants. And the school system is going to be devastated because of the amount of tax revenue coming into the school systems. The community right now - we're starting to see it where your barbershops and mom and pop convenience stores and the subways and - some of them are now really hurting. You know, am I upset about this deal - hell yeah. Now, we ain't the first to, you know, see a plant move out of this country. And I hate to say it, but we won't be the last.

MCEVERS: Chuck Jones is the former president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999. Thanks so much for your time today.

JONES: Thank you very much. I sure appreciate it, Kelly. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.