"[Boeing's] South Carolina plant was Trump's first company visit outside the Beltway after he became president," the Chicago Tribunenoted. (Photo: Jim Young/Reuters)
In a move that appears to negate President Donald Trump's numerous vows to fight for American workers at risk of losing their jobs due to corporate outsourcing and layoffs, Boeing toldCNN on Thursday that around 200 workers based in South Carolina would be fired in an effort to cut costs.
"Because of corporate greed, company leaders are racing to the bottom, to find places where they can pay the least." —Chuck Jones, former president of United Steelworkers 1999
The layoffs, according to reports, will come from several factories throughout the state, including one Trump visited just a few months ago.
"The South Carolina plant was Trump's first company visit outside the Beltway after he became president," the Washington Postnoted.
In a memo to employees on Thursday informing them of the layoffs, Joan Robinson-Berry, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina, wrote that "there may be more to come."
The news comes just as Carrier, another company Trump has frequently criticized for outsourcing, is set to send 600 of its Indianapolis factory jobs to Mexico, a move many view as a direct refutation to Trump's boasts and a betrayal of his promises.
"The jobs are still leaving," Robert James, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, toldCNBC. "Nothing has stopped."
T.J. Bray, a long-time Carrier employee who will not lose his job due to seniority, characterized Trump's promises to workers as more show than substance.
"To me this was just political, to make it a victory within Trump's campaign, in his eyes that he did something great," Bray said in an interview with CNBC. "I'm very grateful that I get to keep my job, and many others, but I'm still disappointed that we're losing a lot."
In addition to promising workers he would fight for their jobs, Trump also bragged that he convinced Carrier to invest $16 million into the Indianapolis plant.
But, CNBC reported, "United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes [announced] in December that the money would go toward more automation in the factory and ultimately would result in fewer jobs."
Lawmakers and organizers warned shortly after Trump announced his "deal" with Carrier that it was a facade. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), argued "Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump."
"To me this was just political, to make it a victory within Trump's campaign." —T.J. Bray, a Carrier employee
Chuck Jones, former president of United Steelworkers 1999, similarly characterized Trump's public proclamations as misleading.
"When he spoke at our plant, he acted like no one was going to lose their job. People went crazy for him," Jones wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post. "All the while, I’m sitting there, thinking that's not what the damn numbers say."
"These plants are profitable, and the workers produced a good-quality product," Jones concluded. "Because of corporate greed, though, company leaders are racing to the bottom, to find places where they can pay the least. It's a system that exploits everyone."
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