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.”