Today is the symbolic end of summer, and that is well and good, but as a national federal holiday, Labor Day is supposed to celebrate and pay tribute to the economic, social contributions, and achievements of American workers. The holiday was first proposed by a machinist and secretary of Central Labor Union of New York in 1882, and if he were alive today, he would be dismayed to see Americans overworked, underpaid, and under attack from a phalanx of Republicans and conservatives intent on driving the American workforce into slave labor-like conditions typical in Communist China, and not the United States of America. Since 2011 when tea-party Republicans swept into power in state legislatures, governor’s mansions, and the House of Representatives, there has been a sustained assault on unions, workers’ rights, and especially public employees.
The attack on American labor is not limited to public employees, and since Willard Romney’s entrance into the presidential sweepstakes during the Republican primary brought focus on his business practices while head of Bain Capital, a picture of worker abuse in the pursuit of corporate profits and vulture capitalism emerged that demonstrates Romney’s contempt for American workers. By now, more Americans are learning about Bain Capital’s modus operandi of taking over companies, leveraging them with crushing debt, firing workers, raiding pensions and health plans, or bankrupting and shipping entire operations overseas. All the while, Bain Capital took exorbitant management fees, paid off company managers, and inserted their own people as creditor and debtor’s council to game bankruptcy proceedings that benefited Bain Capital and left creditors, investors, and workers with nothing.
Any respectable company owner knows workers are the backbone of industry because regardless the product, investment strategy, or business model, without a dedicated labor force producing a quality product, a company is little more than equipment and a building. Union workers have taken an unnecessary beating from Republicans indebted to corporations, and they have been demonized as communists, lazy, and overpaid leeches on society, and Republicans’ ignorant minions and jealous sycophants hope every American wallows in poverty and despair earning minimum wages without healthcare, pensions, and decent working conditions. Last week at the Republican national convention, a typical Bain Capital scenario exposed how a profitable company was sold and relocated to China leaving workers unemployed, without pensions or healthcare, and little hope of ever regaining the American Dream.
Bain Capital is the majority owner in Sensata Technologies in Freeport Illinois that manufactures sensors and controls used in automobiles and aircraft, and for the past 8 months has been dismantled and shipped in pieces to its new location in China. The company required American workers to personally train their Chinese replacements before their jobs are eliminated, and it prompted 170 workers to sign an open letter to Willard Romney petitioning him to prevent their jobs from being outsourced to China. The workers were especially disturbed that a month before the Chinese replacements arrived for training, the company physically removed the American Flag that flew outside the plant because Sensata was afraid of offending the Chinese, and put it back when the foreign workers left. The workers appealed to Romney and Bain Capital to keep their jobs in America, but they were chastised, locked out of buildings, and at one Romney campaign headquarters near Madison Wisconsin, were forcibly removed from the property.
The workers went to Tampa to entreaty Romney personally, and were met by protestors calling them communists and shouting the familiar Republican chant of, “U.S.A., U.S.A.” in an attempt to “make it sound like we were not patriotic” because we wanted to keep good-paying jobs in America. One of the workers said, “it offends 170 people who are having their jobs moved to China to increase the bottom line, because although these products have always been profitable, it’s just not enough,” and that “we need to stop this practice and keep the good paying jobs here; not the lower-paying jobs.” One of the organizers said that while they were in Tampa, they met a lot of people dealing with the same issue of outsourced jobs, or Bain Capital firing workers and hiring them back at very low wages without pensions or healthcare. It is the Bain Capital business model perfected by presidential hopeful Willard Romney, and it has been his standard practice of destroying the American Dream to increase profits.
There is no mystery why Romney’s “creative destruction” business model is becoming standard procedure for corporations and vulture capitalists; more profits, less investment, a minimum wage labor force, or jobs sent to China to enrich investors that are more often than not, Willard Romney and Bain Capital. Romney claims his retirement in 2001 ended his control over Bain’s practices, but he still earns tens-of-millions of dollars every year from Bain Capital. In many cases, under Romney’s leadership, Bain Capital took healthy companies into bankruptcy, swindled creditors, raided pensions, and sold the reorganized firms back to Bain Capital at a discount to repeat the process again.
Romney is selling himself as the man who can get the economy thriving again and create jobs because of his alleged business acumen, but he is not a friend of labor that is necessary for economic growth. He chastised President Obama for wanting to hire more police officers, school teachers, firefighters, and construction workers that drive economic growth, and said America needs fewer of those jobs. It is important to remember that Romney considers a good, American middle-class income is $19,090 annual salary that is less than the federal poverty level and it demonstrates Romney’s disregard for American workers; especially union workers, and his attitude belies the meaning of Labor Day. Union labor is responsible for raising the prevailing wage, protecting workers, lunch breaks, safety regulations, and benefits that every American worker deserves. The idiots that protest against unions fail to understand that every union worker wishes every American earned good wages with a health plan and pension they struggled to achieve.
What men like Romney will never acknowledge or understand, is that America only achieved its greatness and economic dominance because of its labor force. The great highway system, schools and hospitals, bridges and dams were built by hard-working Americans earning a decent living wage and hope of a secure retirement, and society prospered because public sector workers kept America safe and educated the populace, and Romney and his Randian-acolyte buddy have reaped the benefits many times over. This country’s manufacturing industry prospered and reaped the benefits of Americans’ labor with government-funded dependable transportation system, educated labor force, and fire and police protection that Romney promises to reduce to make room for greater tax cuts for the rich who have as little appreciation for hard-working Americans as Willard.
Americans work longer, earns less, and are more productive than at any time in history, and instead of celebrating their economic achievements and social contributions, Republicans promote cutting wages, demonize public sector workers, strip pensions and healthcare, and send jobs overseas for greater corporate tax breaks and increasing the bottom line. Romney is the corporate world’s best opportunity to transform America’s labor force into something resembling Communist Chinese slave-labor, and it is an insult to the men and women who built America into the greatest country in the world. So celebrate this Labor Day as the end of summer, and a Romney presidency as the end of America because $19,090 annual salary, no pension, and no healthcare may be a great middle class income in China, but it is dire poverty in America. However, it may be bad for American workers, but as a business model, it has worked quite well for Romney, Bain Capital, and the corporate donors funding his campaign.