Last week, Romney softened his vision of corporate personhood (or at least tried to make it more palatable to working grunts) when he was pushed on his stance during an appearance in New Hampshire. NPR reports that Romney said: "Corporations are collections of people that are trying to have good jobs for themselves and promote the future. And so, corporations are made up of people, and the money goes to people, either to hire people or to pay shareholders. And so, they're made up of people."
It was a bit of unfortunate timing for Romney. Now several former Kansas City steel-mill workers are recalling how they were screwed after Bain Capital, a company Romney co-founded, bought the mill in the early 1990s.
Reuters published the damning story on Friday, outlining how workers at longtime Kansas City steel mill Worldwide Grinding Systems (which later changed its name to GS Technologies), were left without jobs or their full pensions, and that Bain was just fine letting the federal government clean up the mess.
The Reuters story is thorough and full of painful details on the lives of former workers. But aside from that, it's easy to see why the headline of the piece calls the plant "Romney's steel skeleton in the Bain closet." From the report:
Less than a decade [after Bain bought the mill], the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they'd been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month. What's more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company's underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.
A Romney spokesperson told Reuters that Bain invested in a lot of companies, and not all of them were successful. Still, the story says, Bain made large profits off the mill, while employees were forced to pick up their own health-insurance tab.
Drawing more attention to Bain's handling of the mill is a well-timed commercial that features two former mill workers (one is a conservative who says he "detests" President Barack Obama) put out by the liberal MoveOn political action committee. See the ad below.