AFL-CIO head sticks up for Carrier union leader after Trump attack

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on Thursday defended Chuck Jones, president of a local union representing Carrier workers, in the face of attacks from President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE.


“Chuck Jones is a man of passion, conviction and integrity who would do anything for his union brothers and sisters. President Gerard is exactly right — Chuck is a hero,” Trumka said in a statement Thursday.

“An attack on him is an attack on all working people.”

Trumka is stepping into a fight between Jones, the president of United Steelworkers 1999, and the president-elect over efforts to save jobs at a Carrier plant.

Jones earlier this week said Trump had lied about the terms of a deal to keep Carrier manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Jones said he was optimistic when the president-elect first promised to save 1,350 jobs at Carrier’s Indiana plant. The company had originally planned to move the jobs to Mexico but agreed to keep more than 700 jobs in Indiana after receiving $7 million in tax breaks from the state, where Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence posts, deletes photo of Trump campaign staff without face masks, not social distancing Pence threatens to deploy military if Pennsylvania governor doesn’t quell looting Pence on Floyd: ‘No tolerance for racism’ in US MORE is governor. 

Jones said he was hoping the Trump would explain that 550 of the Carrier jobs weren’t saved. But instead, he said, Trump “got up there, and, for whatever reason, lied his ass off.”

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Trump on Wednesday hit back at Jones, saying he has done a “terrible job representing workers.”

“No wonder companies flee country!” the president-elect tweeted Wednesday night.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump slammed the union for not being able to keep the jobs in Indiana on its own.

Trumka said in the statement that Jones was right to claim Trump was inflating the number of jobs that would be saved.

“He understands better than anyone that these are more than numbers—they are people with families to support and bills to pay,” he said of Jones.

“Instead of attacking those who have been working hard to save jobs, the president-elect needs to engage with local union leaders at Carrier and at his hotel in Las Vegas. Donald Trump is breaking the law by not bargaining with his newly unionized employees,” he continued.

“Mr. Trump will soon occupy the White House. His words and actions need to befit that office.”

Big Data + Big Pharma = Big Money

Need another reminder of how much drugmakers spend to discover what doctors are prescribing? Look no further than new documents from the leading keeper of such data.

IMS Health Holdings Inc. says it pulled in nearly $2 billion in the first nine months of 2013, much of it from sweeping up data from pharmacies and selling it to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. The firm’s revenues in 2012 reached $2.4 billion, about 60 percent of it from selling such information.

The numbers became public because IMS, currently in private hands, recently filed to make a public stock offering. The company’s prospectus gives fresh insight into the huge dollars – and huge volumes of data – flowing through a little-watched industry.

IMS and its competitors are known as prescription drug information intermediaries. Drug company sales representatives, using data these companies supply, can know before entering a doctor’s office if he or she favors their products or those of a competitor. The industry is controversial, with some doctors and patient groups saying it threatens the privacy of private medical information.

The data maintained by the industry is huge. IMS, based in Danbury, Conn., says its collection includes “over 85 percent of the world’s prescriptions by sales revenue,” as well as comprehensive, anonymous medical records for 400 million patients.

All of this adds up to 10 petabytes worth of material — or about 10 million gigabytes, a figure roughly equal to all of the websites and online books, movies, music and TV shows that have been stored by the nonprofit Internet Archive.

IMS Health says it processes and brings order to more than 45 billion health care transactions each year from more than 780,000 different feeds around the world. “All of the top 100 global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are clients” of its products, the firm’s prospectus says.

Dr. Randall Stafford, a Stanford University professor who has used IMS data for his research, said the company has grown markedly in recent years through acquisitions of competitors and other companies that host and analyze data. As the pharmaceutical industry has consolidated, he says, IMS has evolved by offering more services and expanding in China and India.

“They’ve been trying to beef up their competitiveness in some areas by making all of these acquisitions,” he said.

IMS has especially expanded its database of anonymous patient records, which can match patients’ diagnoses with their prescriptions and track changes over time, Stafford said.

IMS sells two types of products: information offerings and technology services. The information products allow pharmaceutical companies to get national snapshots of prescribing trends in more than 70 countries and data about individual prescribers in 50 countries.

IMS’s prospectus offers examples of the questions companies are able to answer with its data, including which providers generate the highest return on a sales rep’s visit, whether a rep drives appropriate prescribing and how much reps should be paid.

IMS Health’s data collection and sales have been controversial.