News Release

Carrier Deal: Using Workers as Hostages?


A CNN headline declares: “Carrier victory bolsters Trump’s economic chops.” An event at the Indianapolis Carrier plant is expected at 2 p.m. ET. See from FAIR: “Corporate Welfare Will Bring Back Jobs vs. Jobs Will Never Come Back.” Bernie Sanders just wrote the piece “Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump.” Also see @BobSegallWTHR, Twitter feed of local Indiana WTHR reporter Bob Segall, who has won awards for covering government fraud.

MORTON MARCUS, mortonjmarcus [at]
Marcus is a retired economist at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. In a statement, Carrier commented that “incentives offered by the state were an important consideration.” Marcus said today: “The Somali pirates would have said the same thing. Firms like Carrier in effect use jobs as a hostage to get a ransom payment from the government.

“It happens all the time. A firm says they’re interested in building a new factory, in expanding. They ask: what can you do for us? So, the local government gives them tax relief, gives them other incentives — building roads, sewers, water system for the firm.

“Governments used to ease the tax burden on their own citizens by taxing firms, but this tax ‘relief’ for firms is being done in the name of jobs. So, a firm leaves a polluting residue, contaminates the water supply, with the locals, decades from now, forced to deal with the consequences.”

Lewandowski is with the Workers’ Project, Inc. in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He said today: “Every politician wants to take credit for things, be a showman — it’s easier than valuing work, workers and workers’ rights. The jobs Carrier has been threatening to move are good jobs and they’re good jobs because the workers bargained for those jobs for years and made them good. We’re actually drowning in jobs — if you want to work lousy hours, for lousy pay and be disrespected.

“We don’t know what’s in this deal. The headlines are great, the details are missing. We don’t know what it means for the 1300 workers at the Carrier Indianapolis plant, or the 700 workers at the Huntington plant.” See: “While Carrier workers in Indy celebrate, Huntington mourns job loss.”

Lewandowski added: “Here in Indiana, Mike Pence made a living attacking workers. But doesn’t matter if it’s a big ‘trade deal’ or a local tax abatement — any kind of economic development involves a government entity and corporation, supposedly working to save jobs. That’s going on all the time. Yet, workers are always excluded from those discussions, at best they’re theatrical props. But if workers aren’t involved in really making the deal, it ends up being more show than go.

“A big part of the problem is that deals like this are all self-reporting — something Donald Trump is familiar with. They can say they’re going to have X number of jobs at such-and-such a wage, but who’s checking? We almost have a Soviet system, where it’s a handshake and a fantasy economy, simply for photo-ops.”