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Trump Mentions Leviton Factory During Campaign Stop

Republican candidate for president Donald Trump is continuing to talk about his displeasure with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during the final days of his campaign. For at least the third time during this campaign, he called out an NAED member company, accusing it of closing a factory and moving jobs to another country.

During the Trump campaign stop in Kinston, North Carolina last night, Donald Trump mentioned Leviton in his speech to highlight his displeasure with NAFTA. While he did say he has bought Leviton switches in the past, he said he did not know that Leviton closed a plant in North Carolina in 2009. Donald Trump claims Leviton moved the 200 jobs from the factory to Mexico.

In fairness, tED magazine is posting a video of the entire campaign stop so you can see the speech in its context and without our editing. You can see Donald Trump’s comments on NAFTA and Leviton beginning at 17:20 of the video.

tED magazine has reached out to Leviton for a comment. Here is the reply we received from Leviton CEO, Donald J. Hendler:

“The statement made by Donald Trump with regard to Leviton in North Carolina is factually incorrect. We have been a U.S.-based manufacturer since 1906 and we are committed to remaining a U.S.-based manufacturer. We manufacture the majority of our products in the U.S. including switches, receptacles and wallplates.

“We have a strong relationship with North Carolina’s economic development office as evidenced by the grant for building improvements in response to increased employment. We have spent millions upgrading our equipment and facilities in North Carolina. In spite of a strong downturn in the housing market we have steadily increased employment in North Carolina and currently employ 738 people in our facilities.”

This is not the first time the Trump campaign, along with Hillary Clinton’s campaign, has called out an NAED member manufacturer on this topic. Last March, Hillary Clinton mentioned Eaton closing a plant in Berea, Ohio, accusing it of moving jobs to other countries. Eight days later, Donald Trump made the same accusation while campaigning in Cleveland. tED magazine posted Eaton’s unedited response, where it said both candidates did not understand the company’s business model, and the situation is not how the candidates described it.

You can see the full story from tED magazine here.

Eaton’s full statement:

“Eaton will not comment on election year campaign rhetoric expressed by candidates for office. We have previously commented extensively on our nearly $12 Billion transformative acquisition of Cooper Industries plc, in 2012, which is why we are domiciled in Ireland. Eaton has also previously outlined its 2015-2017 restructuring program, which allows us to compete more effectively in the current weaker global market conditions. We notified employees on January 12 that we plan to close our Hydraulics facility in Berea, Ohio, during Q4 2016. Eaton is not adding jobs in Mexico due to the Berea closure.”

In July, Donald Trump called out Osram Sylvania on similar accusations during a campaign stop in New Hampshire. This time, the Trump campaign held the rally outside a closed Osram Sylvania plant. Donald Trump told the crowd the empty factory is “largely due, and you can say entirely due, to NAFTA.”

tED magazine allowed Osram Sylvania to make a full statement after the event, which said, “The lighting industry is undergoing a fundamental change from conventional to LED-based technologies. As the result of this change, lighting companies including Osram have been adjusting their global production capacities to account for the decline in demand for traditional lighting products, like produced in Manchester. It functioned as a high¬≠intensity discharge (HID) lamps assembly and laboratory. Over the last three years, we have seen HID decline 25-30 percent. Transfer of some of these production lines and equipment went to OSRAM locations in Juarez, Mexico and Foshan, China in order to consolidate production. It is important to note this was due to decreasing sales due to the technology shift to LED lighting, not any free trade agreements.

“OSRAM SYLVANIA is strongly committed to the U.S. with tens of millions of dollars in investments in New England alone, helping secure our leading position in the global and US lighting market. These investments are benefiting the local area. For example in Hillsboro, New Hampshire, we produce industry first LED technology on the completely redesigned 2015 Ford F-150, part of Ford F-Series, America’s best-selling pickup truck. As the result of innovations such as this, we have over approximately 200 jobs in this region focused on LED automotive lighting technology. In addition, our Hillsboro factory manufactures millions of headlights and signal bulbs each year used in a majority of the vehicles on the road today and is one of the largest employers in the area.”

You can see the entire tED magazine story on the New Hampshire rally here.


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