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I was a steel worker for 30 years. When I first started working, I looked around, we
had 5500 employees, it was like a city inside of a city.
Steel would always be needed in the United States, so it sounded like a guaranteed job.
We were much more than just coworkers, we became very good friends.
We made parts for auto motives, we made parts for nuclear plants, we made gel bars.
We had a reputation for quality products. It was something that was American-made, and
we weren't rich, but I was able to put my daughter through college.
Having a good, paying job that you can support and raise your family on is hugely important.
That stopped with the sale of the plant to Bain Capital.
Bain Capital was the majority owner. They hired the management, they picked the board
of directors, they were responsible. Mitt Romney was deeply involved in the influence
that he exercised over these companies.
It was like going to war every single day. They were starting to try to figure out ways
to eliminate jobs, and so everyone had to pick up the slack.
We started having quality issues at that plant.
They weren't concerned about your health. It was like working in the sweat shops of
Private equity is not, per say, bad, but what Bain Capital did was not capitalism, it was
bad management. The decision makers were governed by a different set of rules than the rest
of us played by.
Bain Capital was sucking money out of the company like there was no tomorrow. The business
model of loading a company up with debt, in order to extract immediate profits for yourself
out of it, and ensuring the failure of the company later on, seemed like exactly the
wrong thing that we needed in America today. They issued $125 million of bonds, and out of that
$125 million debt, they paid themselves almost $40 million.
It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.
They made as much money off of it as they could, and then they closed it down, they
filed for bankruptcy without any concern for the families or the communities.
Bain Capital went to the bankruptcy court and sought elimination of the pension plan
and termination of employee and retiree life insurance and health insurance.
And having to be the one that told them that they were not going to get health insurance
any more, telling them that their pensions were going to be reduced by 50 and 60 percent
in many cases, those are among some of the most painful experiences of my life. Standing
in front of hundreds of people in their fifties, sixties, and many of the retired steelworkers
came to those meetings, so there were people in their seventies and eighties as well.
I personally saw the last heat of steel go through the furnaces. It was like watching
an old friend, watching an old friend bleed to death.
This is what's left of the plant. No rod mill, no melt shop, not much of anything. They came
in, they destroyed.
You know, you look at this and you just feel amazed that there's nothing, that the steel
business isn't here anymore.
I went out every day for six months and I looked for a job. I had a friend that hired
custodians, and so I got a job through him with the school district, at considerably
less money, probably one-third what I was making at the steel mill. We lost all of our
health insurance. I was devastated.
When you take away all the good paying jobs, such as we had here at GST Steel in Kansas
City, the middle class is going to become extinct.
It makes me angry. Those guys were all rich. They all had more money than they'll ever
spend, they have more money than their families will ever spend, yet they didn't have the
money to take care of the very people that made the money for them.
Bain Capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant, because
they took all of the money. We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer.
To get up on national TV and brag about making jobs when he has destroyed thousands of people's
careers, lifetimes, just destroying people.
When it is a business model, and when it is deliberate, and when it is a thought-out strategy
on how to take the value out of a company in a reckless way and hurt others, you then
become a proponent of that strategy, and talk about it as if it's the soul of capitalism,
and literally the soul of America, I think nothing could be more offensive.
He's running for president, and if he's going to run the country the way he ran our business
I wouldn't want him there, because he would be so out of touch with the average person
in this country. How could you care? How could you care for the average working person if
you feel that way?