Bernie Sanders congratulates union leader attacked by Trump

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders congratulated local union President Chuck Jones -- who represents workers for air-conditioner manufacturing company Carrier -- for becoming “the most famous labor leader in America” during a phone conversation recorded by CBS News on Thursday.

Jones had recently become the target of President-elect Donald Trump, who tweeted that Jones was ineffective as a labor leader after he criticized Trump. 

“Well you know, if I did something to piss off President-elect Trump, so be it,” Jones responded, with a cigarette in hand. “We’re moving on, and we’re going to keep up the fight, Bernie.”

The conversation, which occurred after CBS News conducted a one-on-one interview with Jones, felt strikingly cordial. Lasting nearly three minutes, Sanders and Jones promised to hold President-elect Donald Trump accountable for his promise to confront corporate America.

“What we are going to do is we are going to remind Mr. Trump of what he said,” Sanders proclaimed. “But, believe me, we are going to do everything we can to make sure he follows through on the promises to made to the people in Indiana and to the people in America.”

Sanders and Jones also discussed Trump’s recent statements about saving 1,100 Carrier jobs from being outsourced, a number Jones disputes. According to Jones, Trump took credit for saving 350 jobs that weren’t in jeopardy of leaving the U.S. He also said Trump failed to mention that nearly 550 jobs would still be sent to Monterrey, Mexico.

Carrier, however, is still expected to receive $7 million in financial incentives over the next 10 years for keeping its operations in Indianapolis.

“And Trump tells us that he was going to stand up to corporate America, but he ended up just...giving a tax break to keep the company there,” Sanders said.

“Yeah, they rewarded them,” Jones responded.

The two also thanked each other for demonstrating a commitment to the issue.

“For whatever reason you guys have become, in a sense, the symbol of outsourcing in America,” Sanders said. “The world has focused on you guys and we’ve got to be effective in fighting back.”

“Bernie, I can’t thank you enough for everything you’re doing,” Jones said. “You know, we didn’t pick the fight. We’re in the fight, and we’re going to keep on fighting all the way [for] all these jobs leaving this country, and it’s gotta stop.”

Thursday wasn’t the first time Sanders and Jones had interacted. Earlier, Sanders rushed to Jones’ defense--who found himself in the midst of a Twitter war with the next president of the United States.

Sanders also mentioned that he’ll soon be introducing “comprehensive legislation” on the subject, and said he looks forward to working with Jones in the future. 

  • Julia Boccagno

    Julia Boccagno is a news associate for CBS News.