The union president slammed by Donald Trump on Twitter challenged the president-elect to back up his claim that a deal with Carrier Corp. would save 1,100 jobs in Indianapolis.
"He overreacted, President-elect Trump did," United Steelworkers 1999 President Chuck Jones told CNN on Thursday. "He should have come out and tried to justify his numbers."
Earlier in the week, Jones said Trump "lied his ass off," about the number of jobs being saved, which led to the Twitter responses from Trump.
Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence — governor of Indiana — visited Carrier's Indianapolis factory Dec. 1 to celebrate the deal. Trump said then that the number of jobs saved could top 1,100.
Jones said the total of saved jobs is actually about 800 because Trump included more than 250 engineering and administrative jobs that weren't scheduled to go to Mexico in his total. About 400 manufacturing jobs will still be lost from the Indianapolis plant.
"A lot of the people at that time thought that they were going to have a job" who might not, Jones said Thursday.
Trump and other officials connected to the Carrier deal did frequently refer to keeping "close to 1,000" or "more than 1,100 jobs" in Indianapolis around the time of and during the announcement. The state's pending incentives deal with the company does indeed call on Carrier to retain more than 1,050 jobs.
The Indianapolis Economic Development Corp., which put together the incentive package for Carrier, said Dec. 1 shortly after the announcement that it "offered Carrier up to $5 million in conditional tax credits over the next 10 years based on the company's plan to retain 1,069 Hoosier jobs."
The IEDC said it also offered up to $1 million in training grants and up to $1 million from the Hoosier Business Investment tax credit subject to the company's future investment in its Indianapolis facility. Carrier said it planned to invest $16 million in the plant.
The contract has still not been finalized.
Late Wednesday, Trump tweeted: "Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers."
"If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana,” Trump said in the tweet.
That local union branch represents workers at Carrier's Indianapolis plant.
In a second tweet, Trump suggested Jones should "Spend more time working — less time talking" and the union should "Reduce dues."
About 30 minutes after Trump tweeted about Jones, the union leader started getting harassing phone calls, he told MSNBC.
He said one caller asked: "What kind of car do you drive?" Another said: "We're coming for you."
He told the cable news outlet he wasn't sure how the callers found his number.
"Nothing that says they're going to kill me, but, you know, you better keep your eye on your kids," Jones told MSNBC. "I've been doing this job for 30 years, and I've heard everything from people who want to burn my house down or shoot me ... I can deal with people that make stupid statements and move on."