The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, February 26, 2016

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

No endorsement for prez from AFL-CIO

The AFL-CIO will not, for now, endorse a candidate for U.S. president.

"Following recent discussion at the AFL-CIO’s Executive Committee meeting and subsequent conversations with many of you," Trumka said in an email last week to the committee, "I have concluded that there is broad consensus for the AFL-CIO to remain neutral in the presidential primaries for the time being and refrain from endorsing any candidate at this time."

If and when an endorsement is made, there is little doubt that the AFL-CIO would choose one of the two Democratic candidates - the Republican field is likely among the most ultra-conservative and anti-union ever to run.

The AFL-CIO's decision not to endorse yet is likely better news for Bernie Sanders than for Hilary Clinton, and is a nod to his resilient candidacy to date. North America's Building Trades Unions endorsed Clinton in December.

RTW Indiana loses 2,100 jobs to Mexico

The United Steelworkers union said there is "no hope" for stopping the closure of two Indiana plants that make products related to heating, ventilation, air conditioning and cooling, which will result in the export of some 2,100 jobs to Mexico.

Slated for closure are a Carrier manufacturing facility on Indianapolis' west side, eliminating about 1,400 jobs during the next three years, and a United Technologies Electronic Controls plant in Huntington, resulting in the loss of 700 jobs. The plant produces microprocessor controls. Both facilities are units of United Technologies Corp.

The company announced on Feb. 10 that it planned to relocate its Indianapolis, Indiana, manufacturing facility to Monterrey, Mexico, "over the course of an estimated three-year period."

The Steelworkers met with company officials on Feb. 16, to no avail. "It's pretty damn bad when you've got people that figured they'd be able to retire there with some dignity and due to no fault of their own, now they're finding out they're not going to have a job," Chuck Jones, the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, told a local television station.

The Indianapolis workers make an average of about $20 an hour. The wage at the Carrier facility in Mexico is expected to be $3 per hour. Carrier's answer, Jones said, "was basically that because of the wage discrepancies, they didn't see it being possible that (staying) was going to happen," he said.

Closing the Indianapolis manufacturing facility ultimately came down to cost, said Chris Nelson, Carrier’s president of HVAC systems and services for North America, to the Indy Star. “This move is intended to address the challenges we continue to face in a rapidly changing HVAC industry, with the continued migration of the HVAC industry to Mexico, including our suppliers and competitors, and ongoing cost and pricing pressures driven, in part, by new regulatory requirements,” he said.

For what it's worth, Indiana became a right-to-work state in 2012 but it failed to help retain these jobs.