Trump slams Carrier union leader Chuck Jones in latest Twitter attack

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Donald Trump used Twitter late Wednesday to slam the union chief who had sharply criticized the President-elect's claims to have saved more than 1,000 jobs at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis, and set off a war of words over who best represents American workers.

Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers 1999 that represents workers at Carrier, apparently attracted Trump's ire for a Dec. 6 Washington Post article that quoted Jones as saying the terms of deal with Carrier parent firm United Technologies were less than originally sought.

Jones also reportedly said Trump "lied his a-- off" about the terms at a press conference on Dec. 1.

In response, Trump used Twitter on Wednesday to call Jones ineffective.

"Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers," Trump tweeted. "No wonder companies flee country!"

Jones had cited comments made by Trump during the presidential campaign in which the President-elect stated that he aimed to save the jobs of 1,350 workers, but instead announced on Dec. 1 that only 1,100 jobs would stay in Indiana.

Jones said that in truth, the deal saved only 730 of the production jobs and that 550 workers would still be fired.

Jones told CNBC late on Wednesday that while he appreciated "everything Mr. Trump did" to save some jobs, "at the same time he misled us into believing something that is not true."

""I was right about calling him (Trump) out. I stand behind what I've said," Jones added. "People got false hope that he saved 1,100 jobs, when that's not the truth. He completely left out the truth that it was only 800 jobs."

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Trump, however, did not stop at one tweet attacking the union, updating his feed on the issue about an hour later.

"If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues."

That claim prompted a stream of responses, including from New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.

Sorry @realDonaldTrump. Unions like the Steelworkers, leaders like Chuck Jones are going to save this country from your anti-worker policies.

And Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, once of America's highest-profile unions, tweeted:

Chuck Jones was trying to save workers jobs while@realDonaldTrump was buying Chinese steel for his bldgs.

Reason @Carrier did about face b/c Chuck Jones fought & gotnatl att'n, including yours,@realDonaldTrump. Chuck isn't the prob, he's a hero

Meanwhile, Jones himself told NBC News that he was being abused by Trump's supporters - abuse that ramped up after the president-elect's Wednesday night tweets.

"I'm getting threats and everything else from some of his supporters," the union boss said. "I'm getting them all day long - now they're kicked up a notch."

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When asked the nature of the threats, Jones said: "You name it. They haven't threatened to kill me, but they know I have children. They say - watch yourself."

But Jones said he was ready to continue sparring with the next U.S. commander-in-chief. "If (he) wants to do a battle of words, I stand behind my statements."

Jones had met with Indiana Governor Mike Pence in March for talks on how to avoid job losses at the Carrier plant. Pence, who is now also Trump's vice president-elect, said at the time that he was working with the union to save the jobs.

Appreciate the chance to meet w/ Chuck Jones & hardworking men of Local 1999 about our efforts to save Carrier jobs.

- Phil LeBeau contributed to this report.

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