Indiana is still reeling from the February announcement by United Technologies – parent company of HVAC equipment manufacturer Carrier Corporation – that they’d be laying off 2,100 workers from two Indiana plants and relocating the jobs to Mexico. Republican Gov. Mike Pence at the time said the state was “caught off guard” by the announcements. Despite agreeing to follow-up meetings with Indiana officials who urged United Technologies to reconsider, the company has not announced any changes to the strategy.
But the story has not quite reached its conclusion, and a key industry group is expressing anger over not only the layoffs, but the status of millions of dollars in tax incentives United Technologies used to help build its business in Indianapolis. In a letter on Tuesday to Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) supporters, Mike Mitchell, Indiana resident and Alliance for American Manufacturing Field Coordinator, implores readers to join him in reacting to what he refers to as the “corporate greed” that was behind the layoffs:
“United Technologies officials recently met with Indiana leaders like Gov. Mike Pence and Sens. Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats, as well as a number of congressmen and other local officials, to discuss the layoffs and tax incentives the company took for its Hoosier State operations.
At the meetings, United Technologies officials doubled down on their decision to move jobs to Mexico — and made clear the move is to take advantage of $3 per hour labor there.
So now we know their motive, and now we know what we have to do. Tell United Technologies to do the right thing and reconsider these layoffs — and at the very least, return all taxpayer incentives it received to support its Indiana facilities.”
The letter includes a link to an online petition, where supporters can log their displeasure with the decision with an email campaign.
According to an AAM blog post on the topic, the company has agreed to return the nearly $1.6 million in tax incentives and training to bring Carrier to a favorable situation in Indianapolis, after meeting with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. But a related article suggests that public outcry may be required to ensure United Technologies keeps that promise.
Author of the blog, Jeff Bonior, says that, regardless of whether they return the tax incentive funding, United Technologies will continue to profit from taxpayer dollars. “The company is a major United States military contractor that receives an additional $5.6 billion from the federal government each year.”