This Carrier worker thought Trump would save her job. She was wrong.

This Carrier worker thought Trump would save her job. She was wrong.

- in US
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INDIANAPOLIS — It was raining in Indiana’s capital city on the day Renee Elliott and millions of other blue collar Americans stunned the world by helping to elect a Manhattan real estate mogul the 45th president of the United States.

But all Elliott saw that day was sunshine.

As she waited patiently in line to cast her vote, Elliott said she was buoyed by the belief that Donald Trump would make good on his campaign pledge and prevent her job at the Carrier plant — the job that she said allowed her to escape an abusive marriage and live a modest but comfortable life — from being sent to Mexico.

Now, very soon, Elliott will be standing in another line — the unemployment line.

Elliott, 44, was one of the 215 workers at the Indianapolis plant who were given pink slips on Thursday. And to say she is disappointed by Trump would be an understatement.

“We all voted for him,” she said of herself and her Carrier co-workers. “We just thought he was going to protect our jobs. It sounded really good. And then, boom.”

Elliott she is going to do next. She has only a high school diploma to go along with the hairdresser license she earned before she got the job five years ago at Carrier, when she was studying to be a nurse.

“My five-year plan was to finish out nursing school and work on the line and take classes at night,” she said.

What Elliott does know is that it will be hard to find anything that will match the $18-an-hour she made as a press operator at Carrier — and that whatever savings she had were eaten up raising two now-grown kids. Her 73-year-old mother, who had also been living with her, has moved in with her brother, who still has a job at Carrier.

“Being a paycheck away from being homeless is terrifying,” she said.

Then there is the other psychic toll that Elliott is bracing for. That job was her life for five years. She fears she will never find the kind of camaraderie she found working at the plant.

“We weren’t just people who worked in a factory, we were a family,” she said. “Everyone would go to Sully’s or hang in the parking lot, and everyone will be playing dice or cards and drinking and talking about the day.”

Elliott’s fate was sealed long before she voted for Trump. The Carrier Company announced on Feb. 10, 2016, that it was closing its plants in Indianapolis and Huntington, Indiana, and moving the operations to Monterrey, Mexico.

It was during the first presidential debate with Hillary Clinton that Trump gave Elliott and her co-workers some hope that their lives and livelihood would be spared.

“We have to stop our companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people,” Trump declared. “All you have to do is take a look at Carrier air-conditioning in Indianapolis. They left — fired 1,400 people. They’re going to Mexico.”

The exact details of what was happening at Carrier were somewhat different. But the gist of what Trump said on national television electrified the workers on the Carrier plant floor.

Suddenly, there was a savior on the horizon.

Until that moment, Elliott said she didn’t think much of Trump, the son of a wealthy real estate developer who was trying to cast himself as a working-class hero.

“When I first heard on the radio that he was going to run, you’re thinking, ‘He’s a billionaire and so forth,’” she said. “And I was thinking, ‘There’s no way, but he’s going to find a cause and pick it up and when he does he’ll change things. And little did I know we’ll be the cause.”

Elliott said workers began showing up for their shifts in red Make America Great Again baseball caps and she started seeing Trump bumper stickers and posters everywhere.

After the election, there seemed to be even more reason to cheer when a triumphant Trump and his running mate Mike Pence, then the governor of Indiana, announced that they had worked out a deal with Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, to save “more than a thousand jobs right here in the head of the Heartland.”

“Actually the number’s over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great,” Trump said.




Image: U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at an event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Dec. 1, 2016.

U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump speaks at an event at Carrier HVAC plant in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Dec. 1, 2016.