WASHINGTON – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argued that President Trump has violated his campaign promise to be a champion for working people because the air conditioning company Carrier is moving jobs overseas.
Sanders said Trump should prohibit corporations like General Electric from receiving government contracts if they outsource jobs outside the country.
The senator complained that Carrier, a private company based in Indiana, is moving jobs overseas and paying workers $3 per hour in Mexico. Later in the speech, Sanders reiterated his call for a $15 federal minimum wage, nearly double the current $7.75 per hour.
“Donald Trump promised, we all remember this, he was going to be a different kind of Republican, remember that? He was going to be a champion of working people throughout this country. He was going to completely reform our disastrous trade policies,” Sanders said during an event on Capitol Hill organized by Good Jobs Nation on Tuesday.
“He was going to stop the outsourcing of good-paying jobs to Mexico, China and other low-wage countries and he looked the workers at Carrier in Indiana in the eye and he promised that not one of their jobs would be moved to Mexico, not a single job. Unfortunately, as in many, many other instances, he was lying,” he added.
Before taking office, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence visited a Carrier factory in Indianapolis and announced that they had reached an agreement with the company to keep 1,100 jobs in the U.S. According to a Washington Post story in May, more than 600 manufacturing jobs were going to “move to Mexico, where the minimum wage is $3.90 per day.”
“Carrier, a company that is owned by United Technologies, announced that it would be laying off over 600 workers in Indiana and moving those jobs to Monterrey, Mexico,” Sanders said. “Who knows what the workers in Monterrey, Mexico, in that plant are going to get, anyone know? $3 an hour – that’s the competition.”
Sanders called out AT&T for moving call center jobs to the Philippines and the Dominican Republic “where workers are paid $2 an hour.” Amazon also has customer service agents in the Philippines and Verizon has technical support agents based in Mexico.
“They are making huge profits today. It’s not that they are hurting, but they want to make even more. Their greed has no end – shut down calling centers for AT&T in the United States, you move to the Philippines and you pay people $2 per hour,” he said. “But it’s not only Carrier or AT&T. Since 2008, General Electric, one of the largest corporations, has closed down more than 50 factories and facilities in the United States, outsourcing tens of thousands of jobs to China, Mexico and other low-wage countries.”
Sanders said GE pays “virtually no federal income tax” and collects billions in taxpayer funded government contracts. In July, it was announced that GE received a Pentagon contract valued at $409 million.
“I think it is time to change those policies,” he said to applause. “If AT&T, if General Electric wants to receive massive – billions of dollars in government contracts from the taxpayers of this country, they must not outsource the jobs that we have. We should be awarding government contracts to companies that create jobs in the United States, not companies that destroy jobs in the United States.”
Sanders told the audience he is sending Trump a letter requesting that he start to crack down on the private companies that outsource jobs. Sanders said if Trump is “serious about protecting American jobs” he should take action right away.
“You want government contracts? That’s fine,” he said. “But you know what? You’re not going to be shutting down plants in America or going to slave labor in the Philippines.”