Layoffs begin at Carrier plant that drew Trump's criticism




INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - More than 300 Carrier Corp. workers were being laid off Thursday from the company's Indianapolis factory as part of an outsourcing of jobs to Mexico that drew criticism last year from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The nearly 340 workers clocked out after their final shifts at Carrier's gas furnace factory. Another wave of 290 workers will be let go by Dec. 22 under a timetable the company announced in late May.

Carrier announced in February 2016 that it would close the Indianapolis plant and cut about 1,400 production jobs in a move expected to save $65 million annually by moving furnace production to Mexico.

Trump repeatedly criticized Carrier's Mexico outsourcing plan. Weeks after Trump won the election, Carrier announced an agreement brokered by the president-elect to spare about 800 jobs in Indianapolis, where the company has pledged to keep nearly 1,100 jobs.

But some 600 jobs are still being eliminated by the outsourcing.

Although Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor, have been credited with saving Carrier's Indianapolis factory, employees don't have a sense of much job security, said Robert James, president of United Steel Workers Local 1999, which represents plant workers.

"They just don't have any faith in this plant staying in Indianapolis," he told The Indianapolis Star. "There's just too much uncertainty."

The Indiana Economic Development Board in March approved an incentive package that includes directing $7 million in state tax breaks and grants over 10 years to the company. As part of that deal, Carrier is investing $16 million for automation at the Indianapolis plant.

The company's CEO has said that will ultimately mean fewer jobs at the factory.

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