By Ashley Steeb
U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, and several leaders of local labor unions discussed the effects a continuing pattern of offshoring jobs would have on the country.
The discussion focused on Carrier Corporation’s decision in February to move 2,100 manufacturing jobs to Mexico from Indiana.
“What you’re seeing with Carrier is what I call free riders,” said Donnelly. “What they do because of the trade agreement NAFTA, is they ship jobs to Mexico for $3 an hour, and so they get the benefit of the absolute lowest wages they can find, and then turn around to ship the products back into the United States.”
Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president, said decisions like Carrier’s affect the workers and their families not the business. He said voters should analyze every candidate’s policies, actions and beliefs before voting.
“Those people that we elect set the trade rules and they can be changed,” Trumka said. “We have the momentum going right now to change them and we’re not going to let up until we got a new trade regime.”
The group said they have plans to fight and petition in Washington to keep jobs in America. In February, Pence said his administration would fight for reform as well.
“Indiana’s economy is growing, fostering record employment and investment,” Pence said in a press release in February. “Simply put, the loss of these jobs shows the need for reform in our nation’s capital. My administration will continue to stand by working Hoosiers and advocate for changes in Washington, D.C. that encourage investment and job growth.”
Despite Pence’s promise earlier this year, the group was clear they support Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg in the upcoming election.
Donnelly said his proposal includes reducing incentives for companies to move overseas and providing tax breaks to companies that re-shore jobs in rural and low-income communities.
“The impact of bad trade deals is not a theory. It’s not a campaign slogan. It’s real,” said Trumka. “Sadly, what happened in Indianapolis is just the tip of the iceberg. Unfair trade is a national catastrophe.”
*This story has been updated from its original version to specify what Donnelly’s proposal includes in part.