NewsLocal News / December 7, 2016

Union Leader Chuck Jones Shrugs Off Trump Attack

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Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers 1999, took phone calls from supporters Wednesday at his union office. - Drew Daudelin

Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers 1999, took phone calls from supporters Wednesday at his union office.

Drew Daudelin

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter Wednesday night to fire back at United Steelworkers 1999 – that's the union representing Carrier workers whose president slammed Trump this week for his messaging on the deal to save Carrier jobs.

Trump wrote, "Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!"

Trump’s harsh words came the same night Jones called him out on CNN, saying the President-elect lied to Carrier workers when he announced 1,100 of their jobs would be saved from going to Mexico. The final tally is closer to 800 – Jones says Trump unfairly included 350 additional jobs, which had long been saved, in his numbers.

After Trump's tweets, local media reported that Jones was receiving death threats.

Wednesday morning Jones was in his union office, smoking cigarettes and taking phone calls. He says he has to give Trump credit "for having spunk."

Jones says he did receive threatening phone calls from Trump supporters, which he shrugged off, but says once news got out of the harassment support started pouring in.

One caller from a church group in California told Jones, "I’m really, really sorry that this is happening to you.”

Jones reiterates that, despite what looks like a feud, he's thankful to Trump for working to save hundreds of jobs for Carrier workers.

“We’re not asking for a handout, by any means,” Jones says. “We’re just asking for an opportunity to work, and we’re seeing more of these jobs leave this country every day.”

In March, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence tweeted his support for Jones after the two meet to discuss Carrier's plan to close the Indianapolis plant. 

Jones’ friend, Indiana AFL-CIO president Brett Voorhies, says he feels the President-elect is showing union members and the public his true colors.

“What’s he doing to save the other jobs?” Voorhies says. “I mean, he’s lying about these jobs at Carrier, about the number of jobs there, and so what’s he going to do next?”

Voorhies says unions would work with Trump on reforms to stop outsourcing if he wanted to undertake them with members of Congress once in office.

IPBS reporter Annie Ropeik contributed to this report.

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