A large crowd turned out in Midtown today at Bain Capital Headquarters as a group of Bain workers gathered to tell New York exactly what a Romney Economy would mean for them – no benefits, no healthcare, and downsizing as an everyday fact of life. Among the attendees was the Bain Monster, whose dial is always turned to outsourcing.
The Bain Monster might be great for a photo-op, but in a real world economy, Romney’s Bain-influenced policies only hurt workers and families.
Workers from the Bain-owned Sensata plant in Freeport, IL know that all too well. “I’ve worked at Sensata Technologies for six years, and next month my job is being outsourced to China,” said Mary Jo Kerr, a Freeport, IL mother of three told the crowd. “Knowing that co-workers and I will be jobless, while the Chinese economy and its people will benefit from Bain Capital’s selfish business practices makes me angry.”
Sensata was bought by Bain Capital in 2006, and the employees there went from employed to outsourced in six brief years, even as the company made record profits. Romney’s self-created persona of “job creator” is not one that sits well with Kerr. “Mitt Romney likes to call himself a ‘job creator,’ but what I’m living right now speaks to the contrary,” she said. “He could step in and prevent the outsourcing if he wanted to, but he’d prefer to make a profit at our expense.”
Romney’s never had to choose between paying for rent or paying for healthcare, but many of the low-wage workers employed by Bain know those difficult choices all too well. Richard Hooten, an employee of Burlington Coat Factory, owned by Bain, has been faced with some stark options while working for Burlington.
“I was unemployed for two years and the job at Burlington is the only job I could find. I know I’m not the only one with that experience,” Hooten said. “My mother and I have had to move to a series of smaller and cheaper apartments. Even so, I can’t afford both rent and healthcare. What’s going to happen when these are the only jobs we can find? None of us will be able to get by.”
The Bain Bus tour heads to Hempstead, Long Island tomorrow for the second presidential debate. The stories told there of workers struggling to get by on low wages, little job security, and no healthcare will stand in stark contrast to the glib, inaccurate portrait painted by Romney, “job creator” – of outsourced jobs.
Living in New York City is difficult even if you’re making a good living. Kiplinger rated it the most expensive city in the country in 2012, with a median income of $50,000. Living in NY on $8 an hour, which calculates to about $16,000 a year, is beyond difficult. It’s a struggle every day, a struggle that New Yorker Shantees Jones knows all too well. She’s a former employee of Burlington Coat Factory, which is owned by Bain Capital, the source of Mitt Romney’s millions and the testing ground for his anti-worker policies.
On her salary, Shantees couldn’t afford healthcare for her kids. She struggled to make ends meet for the everyday things, making saving for the bigger things – college for her kids, her retirement, family vacations – out of the question.
As a single mother, she doesn’t have a safety net, making every day a high-wire act. “Without access to healthcare, what am I supposed to do when my kids get sick? In the Romney Economy, I can’t do anything. I just have to hope they get better and I don’t lose my job.”
Shantees lives the Romney Economy every day. It’s a world without benefits, safety nets, and options when your kids get sick. It’s a world where corporations get tax breaks and employees don’t get healthcare. And while Bain companies don’t provide workers like Shantees with healthcare, the Romney-Ryan plan goes a step further, proposing to slash the safety net of Medicaid for low-income Americans. According to a recent study, an estimated 44 million people would be forced off of Medicaid if Romney implements this plan.
Click to watch Shantees and others tell what the Romney Economy means for them:
And people like Shantees would find it harder and harder to get ahead in the Romney Economy. Of the cuts proposed by Paul Ryan’s budget, the foundation of the Romney-Ryan economic platform, 62 percent would come from programs that help low-income Americans, including job training programs, Medicaid, Pell Grants, and food stamps.
If Shantees’s kids want to go to college, they’d be faced with an even higher barrier to entry since the Ryan plan would cut Pell grants to one million college students. Romney may think kids who want to go to college should borrow from their parents, but Pell Grant recipients know that’s not a viable possibility – three-quarters of Pell recipients come from families with a combined income of $30,000 or less.
So Shantees and others like her got on the Bain Worker Bus, going from city to city to tell of their struggles in the Bain Economy, the Romney Economy. She said she did it for her kids. One day, she hopes to be able to take them to Disney World. First, she’s trying to make sure others know what the Romney Economy would mean for them and their children.
The Bain Bus Tour rolled into Poughkeepsie, NY today, where local activists gathered to meet the bus and to tell their stories about what a Romney Economy means to them — lost jobs, choosing between paying rent and healthcare, and homelessness.
Watch to Richard’s story here:
In the Mid-Hudson Valley, the 99% are fighting to elect a representative who will work for them, not the 1%. Poughkeepsie is part of Congressional District 18, currently represented by Congresswoman Nan Hayworth, who voted for the Paul Ryan budget while refusing to support bills raising the minimum wage — a true representative of the Romney Economy.
Among those at the event today was Nora Mendez, a Mid-Hudson 99% activist who has struggled through homelessness before getting a steady job. She worries what will happen if Hayworth is re-elected and Romney wins the presidency. The Mid-Hudson 99% have been rallying the community together to urge elected officials to increase the minimum wage while also protecting the vital services that provide a safety net in times of struggle.
The Bain Bus tour heads to Boston next, while the activists from the Mid-Hudson Valley 99% will continue to fight for an economy that works for the 99% — which is very clearly not Romney economy.
The Bain Worker Bus visited the Sesame Street-themed amusement park Sesame Place today for a rally highlighting Mitt Romney’s mis-placed crack-down on Sesame Street and the Romney Economy’s hardships for working people.
Bain workers Shantees Jones, Simara Martinez, Darrin Little, and Richard Hooten got a warm welcome from local supporters, one dressed in a Big Bird costume. The mood changed from an enthusiastic rally to an emotional speak-out as a teacher spoke about the importance of public education — including public television — and the Bain workers shared how difficult the Romney Economy has been for their families.
Watch the video here:
Shantees, who makes low wages and is given no benefits for her work at Bain-owned Burlington Coat Factory, had this to say about what her three children would lose if Mitt Romney fired Big Bird:
I can’t afford to take my kids to Disney World or even to Chuck E Cheese for fun. We don’t have cable TV, either. But my kids love Sesame Street and Big Bird, because it shows them more of the world and gives them something outside our apartment. If the Romney Economy doesn’t have space for Big Bird, that’s just one more reason why it doesn’t work for my family.
Sesame Place is located in Bucks County, PA, where Republican Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is running for re-election to represent the 1%. Fitzpatrick voted for the Ryan budget, which would have turned Social Security into a voucher program, and voted against Wall Street reform. Pennsylvanians can’t afford a Romney Economy or a Congressman who support’s Mitt Romney’s economic politices.