By Roberta Rampton
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders turned up the pressure on President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday about his pledge to try to stop an Indiana air conditioner manufacturer from moving 1,400 jobs to Mexico.
Both Sanders, who challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and Trump seized on an announcement earlier this year by United Technologies Corp’s Carrier division that it would shift production to Mexico as an example of how trade deals hurt U.S. workers.
Sanders on Saturday warned “it is not good enough to save some of these jobs” and said Trump should use as leverage United Technologies’ defense contracts, Export-Import Bank financing, and tax breaks.
“I call on Mr. Trump to make it clear to the CEO of United Technologies that if his firm wants to receive another defense contract from the taxpayers of this country, it must not move these plants to Mexico,” the senator from Vermont said in a statement.
A representative for Carrier declined to comment on Sanders’ statement.
Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, said on Thursday that he was “working hard, even on Thanksgiving” to get the plant to stay and said he was “making progress” on the issue. Carrier Corp. confirmed it had “discussions with the incoming administration.” Neither side has provided details.
Trump had threatened to slap taxes on the company’s air conditioners made in Mexico and shipped back to the United States. A spokesman was not immediately available for comment on Sanders’ statement on Saturday.
Sanders said he would soon introduce legislation that would prevent companies that outsource from receiving federal contracts, grants and loans, and force companies that outsource jobs to pay a penalty tax and pay back tax breaks.
(Additional reporting by Nick Carey in Chicago; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)