Can Trump Save Their Jobs? They’re Counting on It

Nelson Schwartz (New York Times, 12 novembre 2016)


Indianapolis — By the time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years this month, Paul Roell was already asleep. He did not stay up to see Barack Obama win the presidency in 2008, or watch in 2000 as the margin of votes separating George W. Bush and Al Gore in Florida shrank to the vanishing point.

After all, he has to clock in daily at 5:30 a.m. at the soon-to-be-shuttered Carrier factory here, where he has worked 17 years.

But shortly before 3 a.m. Wednesday, when the networks projected that Donald J. Trump would be the next president of the United States, Mr. Roell was wide awake. His wife, Stephanie, was up, too, and they exchanged high fives in the wee hours.

In fact, Mr. Roell was so keyed up, he did not sleep at all that night and headed straight to the plant before sunrise, bleary-eyed but euphoric. “I don’t watch sports, but this was my World Series,” he said.

It is precisely this level of enthusiasm, from Mr. Roell and millions of like-minded Americans, that pollsters and the campaign of Hillary Clinton did not appreciate, even though it was vividly on display in February after a video went viral showing furious Carrier workers here learning from management that their jobs would be going abroad.

Carrier’s decision to move the factory to Monterrey, Mexico, will eliminate 1,400 jobs by 2019. Mr. Trump quickly made the factory Exhibit A in his argument against the trade policies of Republicans and Democrats alike.

He cited Carrier again and again on the campaign trail, threatening to phone executives at the company and its parent, United Technologies, and to hit them with 35 percent tariffs on any furnaces and air-conditioners they imported from Mexico. To the cheers of his supporters, he predicted at rallies that Carrier would call him up as president and say, “Sir, we’ve decided to stay in the United States.”

Now his supporters expect action. “If he doesn’t pass that tariff, I will vote the other way next time,” warned Nicole Hargrove, who has worked at Carrier for a decade and a half and is not certain what she will do if and when her job goes to Mexico.

Carrier isn’t changing its plans. On Friday in a written statement, the company said, “We are making every effort to ease the transition for our Carrier colleagues in Indiana.” The company pointed out that it will finance four-year retraining and educational programs for employees and provide financial help…

 

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