Campaign Promises & Manufacturing Jobs

When both Carrier Corporation and Ford Motor Company announced that they would cancel plans to move jobs overseas, President Donald Trump was quick to take credit. Both companies later reversed course again and stated that they would continue with their outsourcing plans.

Background

While President Trump was happy to claim credit for the initial decisions made in January 2017 by Carrier Corporation and Ford Motor Company to keep certain manufacturing jobs in the U.S., it is not clear to what extent those decisions — or their subsequent reversals — were actually based on any specific policies of the Trump administration.

Carrier Corporation

In early 2016, heating and air conditioning manufacturer Carrier Corporation announced that it would move more than 2,000 jobs from plants in Indiana to Mexico. Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, Carrier announced that it would keep more than 1,000 of those jobs in Indiana, citing financial incentives from Indiana and the possibility of pro-business policies under the Trump administration.

But in May of that same year, Carrier said that it would begin laying off hundreds of workers from those plants — and layoffs began on July 20, 2017.

Ford Motor Company 

In April 2016, Ford said that it was planning to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico to build small cars. Like Carrier, Ford announced shortly after the 2016 presidential election that it had canceled those plans, and would instead expand its plant in Flat Rock, Mich.. President-elect Trump was quick to take credit for Ford’s decision.

Despite that reversal, Ford announced in June 2017 that it would manufacture its next-generation Ford Focus model in China, rather than in the United States or Mexico — mere months after Trump was sworn into office

American Oversight is investigating both moves to determine what communications each company may have had with the Trump administration about their plans — and whether Trump officials knew about the outsourcing decisions before they became public.

What We’re Seeking

  • Office of the U.S Trade Representative, Department of Commerce, or Department of the Treasury communications with Ford Motor Company, former Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder, or Congress regarding the relocation of certain manufacturing operations to China; 
  • Communications between certain government agencies and the White House or the Trump campaign regarding the relocation of Ford manufacturing jobs to China;
  • Communications between different government agencies and the White House or the Trump campaign regarding the relocation of Carrier jobs to Mexico, including records that shed light on what role the Trump administration played — if any — in Carrier’s decisions concerning layoffs; and 
  • Communications between the Department of Labor and the White House or Ford regarding the Trump administration’s impact on Ford’s decision to relocate the production of the Ford Focus vehicle.

Related Documents

September 30, 2019

Commerce Emails with Ford Motor Company Regarding Ford Moving Manufacturing Production

Department of Commerce
Agency Record
September 17, 2019

ITA Emails Regarding Harley-Davidson Moving Production Abroad from June 2018

Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration
August 1, 2019

No Records Response from Commerce ITA Regarding Ford Manufacturing Plans

Department of Commerce
Agency Reply
November 29, 2017

Records From DOL Regarding Ford

Department of Labor
Agency Record
November 20, 2017

No Records Responses From DOL to Requests Seeking Communications Regarding Ford

Department of Labor
Agency Reply
November 1, 2017

No Records Responses From DOL to Requests Seeking Communications Regarding Ford

Department of Labor
Agency Reply
October 30, 2017

No Records Response Regarding Carrier Communications

Department of Labor
Agency Reply
October 23, 2017

No Records Response Regarding Carrier

Department of Labor
Agency Reply
October 23, 2017

No Records Response From DOL’s Office of Public Affairs Regarding Ford

Department of Labor
Agency Reply
October 23, 2017

No Regards Response Regarding White House Communications

Department of Labor
Agency Reply
September 11, 2017

FOIA to DOL About Ford Factory Decision

Department of Labor
FOIA Request
September 7, 2017

FOIA to DOL Seeking Communications with Carrier

Department of Labor
FOIA Request
September 7, 2017

FOIA to DOL Seeking White House Communications

Department of Labor
FOIA Request
September 7, 2017

FOIA to DOL Seeking Ford Communications

Department of Labor
FOIA Request
August 28, 2017

No Records Response Regarding Outsourcing of Carrier Jobs

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Agency Reply
August 9, 2017

No Records Response From USTR Regarding Communications with Trump Team Over Ford Moving to China

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Agency Reply
July 19, 2017

FOIA to USTR Regarding Carrier Layoffs

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
FOIA Request
July 19, 2017

FOIA to Treasury Regarding Carrier Layoffs

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
July 19, 2017

FOIA to Commerce Regarding Carrier Layoffs

Department of Commerce
FOIA Request
July 19, 2017

FOIA Request to Commerce Regarding Carrier Jobs

Department of Commerce
FOIA Request
July 19, 2017

FOIA Request to Treasury regarding Carrier Jobs

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
July 19, 2017

FOIA Request to USTR Regarding Carrier Jobs

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
FOIA Request
July 14, 2017

FOIA Request to USTR Regarding Ford China Jobs

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
FOIA Request
July 14, 2017

FOIA Request to US Trade Representative Communications Ford to China Snyder Ford Congress

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
FOIA Request
July 14, 2017

FOIA Request to Commerce Regarding Ford China Jobs

Department of Commerce
FOIA Request
July 14, 2017

FOIA Request to Department of Commerce Communications Ford to China Snyder Ford Congress

Department of Commerce
FOIA Request
July 14, 2017

FOIA Request to Treasury Regarding Ford China Jobs

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request
July 14, 2017

FOIA Request to Treasury Department Communications Ford to China Snyder Ford Congress

Department of the Treasury
FOIA Request