Chuck Jones, the union leader who claims President-elect Donald Trump lied to Carrier employees while touting a deal to keep jobs in the U.S., says he started receiving harassing phone calls a half hour after Trump slammed him on Twitter. But Jones is refusing to back down.
“I’ve been doing this job for 30 years,” Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999, told CNN on Thursday morning. “I’ve had a lot more serious threats than what people are making right now. I’ve got a little more thicker skin than maybe I did many years ago.”
“Everybody’s got a right to their opinion,” Jones continued. “He overreacted, President-elect Trump did. I would expect that if he were to tweet something, he should have come out and tried to justify his numbers.”
The President-elect "overreacted," Carrier union leader Chuck Jones says of the Trump tweets. https://t.co/m6XLeTG80A
— New Day (@NewDay) December 8, 2016
At an event at Carrier’s Indianapolis plant last week, Trump said the deal he helped broker would keep 1,100 factory jobs from being moved to Mexico. But according to Jones, workers at the plant were informed that Trump’s deal with Carrier will maintain about 800 U.S. positions, while more than 550 are still being moving to Monterrey, Mexico.
“He got up there, and, for whatever reason, lied his ass off,” Jones told the Washington Post. “I almost threw up in my mouth.”
After Jones repeated his criticism Wednesday night on CNN, Trump retaliated on Twitter.
“Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers,” the president-elect tweeted on Wednesday. “If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana.”
Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2016
Jones told MSNBC that his phone started ringing about 30 minutes later.
He said one caller asked: “What kind of car do you drive?”
“We’re coming for you,” another said.
“Nothing that says they’re gonna kill me, but, you know, ’You better keep your eye on your kids,’” Jones explained. “‘We know what car you drive.’ Things along those lines.”
Still, Jones said he wasn’t concerned for safety.
“I’ve been doing this job for 30 years, and I’ve heard everything from people who want to burn my house down or shoot me,” he added. “I can deal with people that make stupid statements and move on.”
Back in March, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, now the vice president-elect, met with Jones and praised him on Twitter.
Appreciate the chance to meet w/ Chuck Jones & hardworking men of Local 1999 about our efforts to save Carrier jobs pic.twitter.com/jAzV4DO4PY
— Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 2, 2016
The president-elect did not.
Trump also tweeted that Jones should “spend more time working” and “less time talking.”
“He needs to worry about getting his Cabinet filled,” Jones told the Post on Wednesday night, “and leave me the hell alone.”