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Union optimistic after Trump says Carrier may return to Indy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Union leaders are responding after president-elect Donald Trump said he’s working on getting Carrier to stay in Indiana.

The president-elect tweeted to millions of followers on Thanksgiving morning that he’s making progress and will know soon.

“I appreciate Mr. Trump at least exploring the opportunities with Carrier to keep these jobs here, because we’re losing too many jobs out of this country,” said Chuck Jones, president for United Steelworkers Local 1999.

Jones told 24-Hour News 8 he thought the door was already closed with Carrier, but now he’s cautiously optimistic about the outcome.

“This at least open the doors a little bit to see if anything can be done and if Mr. Trump and Carrier can open the door for something to get done then the union will get involved,” he said.

Jones said he was surprised by the update.

“I was shock to be quite honest,” he said. “I thought once Donald Trump got elected that his campaign promises to keep jobs in the United States would probably go away.”

Jones said this could mean one of two things for workers.

“Even though myself I haven’t gotten a lot of faith that anything could get done, it’s positive because if something can be done to save 1,400 people jobs without a doubt that’s great,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out, we’re no further along in the process than we are now.”

Jones said the union last met with Carrier about three months ago. The company stood by its decision to move operations to Mexico, impacting 1,400 jobs.

“They told us at that point in time: ‘Well, you know, the savings of $65 million a year — your $23 million won’t bridge the gap,” Jones said, “‘Sorry, but we’re still going to move.’”

Carrier responded to the president-elect on Twitter by saying, “Carrier has had discussions with the incoming administration and we look forward to working together. Nothing to announce at this time.”

Jones said he’s not sure what’s happening behind closed doors. He’s just hoping for the best.

“Carrier’s been a long time manufacturing company here in this city,” he said. “These people need jobs, want jobs, that’s all we want to do. We want to be able to work.”

Jones said the union is planning a town hall meeting with cable network MSNBC and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for Dec. 5 . He would like to invite president-elect Donald Trump.

“I don’t know if he’ll be interested in coming, but I would like MSNBC to reach out to Mr. Trump and invite him, because he’s going to be the topic of the discussion. And if he’s got some ideas on how to keep these jobs in this country I am — and we all are — on board in doing that,” Jones said.

Jones said they are still working on a time and location for the town hall.