Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Wednesday he is forming a task force aimed at helping the 1,400 workers who will be laid off as Carrier Corp. relocates manufacturing operations to Mexico.
The group—which he created by executive order—will “convene local, state, and federal resources and direct every tool at our disposal toward supporting these workers in the days ahead,” Hogsett said. Some of that work has already started, officials said.
Carrier manufactures heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration systems at its plant at 7310 W. Morris St. on the west side of Indianapolis. The company announced Wednesday morning it would begin moving jobs in 2017 and continue through 2019.
“Today’s surprise announcement was without warning and incredibly disappointing,” Hogsett said in a statement. “While I am obviously concerned about the economic impact, my top priority is the well-being of the hardworking families affected by this decision.”
The plant opened in the early 1950s. The average wage for union members there is about $23 an hour, which is almost four times what many manufacturing jobs in Mexico pay.
The task force will by co-chaired by Deputy Mayors Angela Smith Jones, who oversees economic development, and Jeff Bennett, who handles community development. It will include members from Develop Indy, EmployIndy, Indy Chamber and United Steelworkers as well as representatives of state and federal government and City-County Councilor Jared Evans, who represents the area where Carrier is located.
Hogsett has already been in contact with those organizations and agencies as well as union officials, said the mayor’s spokeswoman, Taylor Schaffer.
The task force will focus immediately on identifying existing resources for workers and developing a “tool kit” to ensure those workers know about their options, Schaffer said.
“A job lost in any part of our community affects us all,” Hogsett said in his statement. “And I believe these are the times we must come together as one city to lift up our neighbors.”