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President's lack of interest in jobs is disillusioning to workers

June 25, 2005|By Roger D. Stone

Dear Mr. President:

Today is a day that I feel I may have voted for the wrong person. Mr. President, having read your support and promotion of CAFTA, I am saddened by this, almost to the point of tears.

First I am a president of union Local 658-T UNITE-HERE. Recently we were given the WARN Act notice that our plant is heading for a shutdown, as the result of our company, GST AutoLeather, moving to Mexico. This will cost the State of Maryland 500 jobs, not counting the 1,500 jobs we have already lost prior to this.

Mr. President, it is my job to weigh all the dyes for the processing of our product. It is also my job to order all the chemicals we use in this end of the plant. Sir, I do my job well and have done all jobs well, no matter what classification it was. Now I not only order the chemicals for our plant, I also am required to order them for the Mexico plant.


Mr. President, it was very little at first, but within the last month, I have had to order and set up 13 truckloads of chemicals for QUINBA of GST Leon Mexico. Not only does this bother me as the Local president, but as an American union worker, which I have been for 28 years here and nine years in other shops.

Mr. President, this is a sad time at my job. Many employees are scared and fearful of having to start over. I myself am in this category. Like many of my co-workers, I did not graduate from high school. We all know this will be a deterrent to some of us. I do plan on getting my degree, which I know will not be a problem. But even with that, I am 55 years old - who will hire me at a wage I now live by?

I may have to do what I prayed I would never have to do, and that is to file bankruptcy. And, thanks to the new bankruptcy laws that go into effect in August, I must do that soon, or I risk losing what I worked 28 years for. I, like many Americans, lived beyond my means because of credit cards. I, like many, gave it no thought, for I earned a good living, which I am soon about to lose.

Mr. President, I campaigned for you, and as a union president, that was not very popular to do. Sir, though I respect your moral values and principles, you have let me down.

Sir, you have no idea how disappointing this letter is to write. I kept telling my membership our president would never agree with CAFTA, for I believe CAFTA will complete what NAFTA started and the American economy will suffer greatly because of it. I know, as all American union workers know, that you cannot grow the economy by outsourcing American jobs to countries that do not believe in a true democracy, one where the idealism is bred in faith of the almighty God.

Many of us trusted you to do the right thing by our country - to remember what the preamble stood for in the United States Constitution:

"We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

I believe our Founding Fathers knew perfectly well what this meant. You are to be taking care of your homeland and not foreign lands.

When it says justice, it means we are to be to be treated right, not giving the rights to other countries and forgetting ours.

As long as we continue down the same path we are going, we are headed for complete failure. The American worker is doomed. Unless something is done soon, there will be no jobs left in America, other than warehouses and shipping docks.

There will be no future for the children who are now in kindergarten. Yes they will get an education, but sir, there will not be enough jobs around to fill the needs of these children when they are adults.

The truth, Mr. President, is not found in Wall Street. The truth is found in the thousands of homeless shelters across this great nation. where thousands are hungry and tired from trying to survive in a tiring situation. Mr. President, these are not skid-row bums, but people who at one time were valuable employees to a company that left our shores for others.

Mr. President, these are American citizens who feel their leaders have let them down and soon I will know how they feel. Sir, this land is headed for a fall, like it has never seen. One that will make the Depression era look prosperous.

Why do I say this and believe it? Simply because we cannot take care of our neighbors as the neighbors of the past did.

When that day comes, there will not be enough food to feed the hungry, nor enough medicine to heal the sick, nor enough money to bail out America.

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