Huntington plant looks to be left out of Trump’s Carrier deal

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A 700-worker factory in northeastern Indiana facing closure doesn't appear to be part of a deal President-elect Donald Trump struck with its parent company to keep hundreds of jobs at an Indianapolis plant.

The closing of the Huntington factory was announced the same day in February as the closing of the 1,400-worker Carrier plant in Indianapolis. Production from both United Technologies Corp.-owned plants was to be shifted to Mexico over the next few years.

Huntington factory union local president Bill Davis told WANE-TV of Fort Wayne he could tell from the announcement of Trump's Carrier deal that it was only aimed at the Indianapolis jobs.

Huntington plant worker Mike Harmon said Trump only talked during his campaign about the Indianapolis factory and he feels the Huntington employees were forgotten.

Meanwhile, workers at an Indianapolis Carrier Corp. factory slated for closure said they're eager to learn more about the deal Trump reached with the company.

Those workers and their union have little information ahead of Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence's Thursday afternoon visit to the factory. Carrier said the deal will keep about 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis, though that includes headquarters and engineering staff that were likely to stay in Indiana. About 1,400 workers were slated for layoffs.

Carrier employee TJ Bray, the media rep for the union, said workers are excited but worried because they don't know the details.

United Steelworkers local president Chuck Jones said the union wasn't involved in any of Trump's negotiations with Carrier.

Trump is including the visit on a victory lap Thursday, appearing first in Indiana to salute workers and then in Ohio on the first stop of a "Thank You Tour" to honor the supporters in states that helped him to his stunning victory.

The Midwest swing will be the first time that Trump, who has shown an early inclination to revel in the role of showman-in-chief, has barnstormed across the country since the campaign. But now his signature rallies will carry the imprimatur of president-elect. And both stops will feature Trump declaring victory after a campaign built on the lament that "we don't win anymore" as a nation.

But now the question arises: Which Trump will appear at the rally?

A newly serious Trump embracing the gravity of the job who will conduct a spirited but formal rally befitting a president? Or will he revert to the campaign Trump, flying off the teleprompter with inflammatory remarks and encouraging raucous crowds chanting "Build the wall" and vilifying critics?

The Republican businessman made Carrier's decision a key theme in his campaign, pledging to save that factory and ones like it as part of his plan to rebuild the American manufacturing industry while preventing jobs from fleeing overseas.

Trump threatened during the campaign to impose sharp tariffs on any company that shifted its factories to Mexico. And his advisers have since promoted lower corporate tax rates as a means of keeping jobs in the U.S.

"Big day on Thursday for Indiana and the great workers of that wonderful state. We will keep our companies and jobs in the U.S. Thanks Carrier," Trump tweeted Tuesday.

Neither Trump nor Carrier has said yet what the workers might have to give up, or precisely which threats or incentives might have been used, to get the manufacturer to change its mind. The company attributed its decision to the incoming Trump administration and financial incentives provided by Indiana, which is something of a reversal, since earlier offers from the state had failed to sway Carrier.

"Today's announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate," the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Trump's deal with Carrier may be a public relations success for the incoming president but also suggests that he has unveiled a new presidential economic approach: actively choosing individual corporate winners and losers — or at least winners. To critics who see other Indiana factories on the verge of closing, deals like the one at Carrier are unlikely to stem the job losses caused by automation and cheap foreign competition, and the prospect that the White House might directly intervene is also a concern to some economists.

The other victory Trump will celebrate Thursday is far more clear-cut: his own on Election Day.

Trump will hold a campaign-style rally in Cincinnati, the first of several stops on a tour this month. Trump, who has long spoken of feeding off the energy of his raucous crowds, first floated the idea of a victory tour just days after winning the election but has instead prioritized filling some Cabinet positions.

The rally in Cincinnati, which Pence also will attend, will take place in the same downtown sports arena where Trump appeared in late October and drew about 15,000 people in what was one of his loudest — and most hostile to the media — crowds of the campaign. Trump, who convincingly won Ohio, is also expected to hold rallies in battleground states including Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Michigan in the coming weeks, though details have yet to be announced.

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