Mike Fugate crossed party lines to vote for Trump. He hopes the president-elect can save his Indiana job from going to Mexico.
Credit: Jason Margolia
If you were to close your eyes and imagine the stereotypical guy in the Rust Belt who got Donald Trump elected, someone like Mike Fugate might come to mind.
He’s a middle-aged white man with a blue-collar job. And he’s a big fan of Trump — but with a twist.
“I’ve been a registered Democrat my whole life, always voted Democratic,” says Fugate. “Not this time.”
I met Fugate at Sully’s Bar and Grill, an Indianapolis joint just across the way from the Carrier factory where they’ve built heating and cooling systems since the 1950s. Fugate has worked there for 25 years.
Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, , Mexico.
“They’re shafting us,” says Fugate. “I think they don’t have any concerns, it’s all about shareholders’ profit. And going to Mexico — $20 an hour to $3 an hour — that says it all right there.”
United Technologies turned down my interview request. But they did send an email highlighting the severance package being offered to workers — which includes things like extended health care for six months and education benefits for up to four years for job retraining. Carrier workers I met, say: Thanks, but I want my job. Carrier will start moving to Mexico in June 2017 and expects to complete the transfer by 2019.