Cindy Hewitt is a former employee at the Miami-based plant of Dade Behring, a defunct medical company that Mitt Romney’s buyout company, Bain Capital, took over and lead to bankruptcy in the ’90s. For more background on the controversial takeover, see the related links at the end of the op-ed. Beached Miami does not necessarily endorse Hewitt’s views.
During election years, politicians love to talk about creating jobs. Creating jobs is something I know quite a bit about.
During election years, politicians love to talk about creating jobs. Creating jobs is something I know quite a bit about. While I was at Cornell University, I received my master’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. I moved to Miami in 1992 to accept a human resources position with Burger King Corporation, just in time for Hurricane Andrew. In my spare time I volunteered for an organization that provided job training and placement for people with disabilities, helping forge relationships with local employers and coach job applicants. A few years later, I took an HR management position at the Dade Behring Miami East plant, right by the Miami River. I was responsible for employee recruitment, hiring, development, and training. There are very few things that replace the feeling of watching people get sustainable and dignified work. But there are also very few things as tragic as watching people lose really good jobs because of greed.
I never imagined that my time at Dade Behring would teach me so much about job destruction. Dade Behring was an extremely profitable medical company that employed 850 well-paid workers and contributed greatly to the tax base of South Florida. While I was a Human Resource Manager at Dade Behring in the late ’90s, Bain Capital, the venture capital firm started by Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, systematically dismantled our company. I witnessed an extremely profitable business go bankrupt and lay off all of its workers.
In this video, produced by One Miami Now, Hewitt discusses the Dade Behring bankruptcy during a protest outside of Romney’s Miami headquarters.
As the new owners of Dade Behring, Bain Capital seemed far more interested in enriching its investors than it was in ensuring Dade Behring’s continued success. Bain saddled Dade Behring with mountains of debt while sucking $242 million dollars in profit out of the company and putting it into the pocket of its investors. With their newly lined pockets, Bain sat back and watched as Dade Behring closed its doors, costing South Florida $30 million dollars in good paying jobs.
As for me, I left the world of human resources after my experience at Dade Behring. After watching so many good people’s lives be devastated, I didn’t want to risk being part of an organization that treated people so poorly ever again. I now work in animal welfare.
There are many people out there who will say that our dire economic times require a president with business experience. My time with Dade Behring taught me that some businessmen are indeed particularly skilled in creating wealth for already wealthy investors. But I want my president to create jobs that pay people enough so they can support their families. I also want a president who will help successful businesses that provide sustainable jobs to remain successful and viable. Finally, I want a president who exemplifies a country built on compassion, fair treatment, and opportunity for all. As we celebrate Labor Day, it is really important to reflect on the values that we want our president truly to represent.
– “After a Romney Deal, Profits and Then Layoffs” (New York Times)
– “In Miami, story of profits and layoffs highlights debate over Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain” (Tampa Bay Times)