Three former associates of Bain Capital-funded companies told their sagas of lost jobs and shuttered factories at the convention Wednesday night and urged delegates to support President Obama.
They were familiar names and faces to close watchers of the campaign, two of them union officials who have appeared in numerous news stories and sometimes campaign ads criticizing Bain and its founder, Mitt Romney.
Randy Johnson, formerly of Ampad, was a figure who helped Ted Kennedy defeat Romney in their Senate contest in 1994. Johnson said Bain let go of 350 employees when it shut down the paper company’s Indiana plant. “I don’t think Mitt Romney is a bad man,” he said. “What I fault him for is making money without a moral compass.”
Cindy Hewitt detailed the shutdown of a Miami plant for Dade Behring that cost 850 jobs, and said Bain pocketed more than $240 million in the deal.
David Foster, a Minnesota union organizer for steelworker, blamed Romney and Bain for shutting down a GST Steel plant, and eliminating 750 jobs, while reaping a $12 million profit.
Bain has said it invested heavily in GST Steel but the business slumped and was undercut by foreign competition.
Dade Behring, which went bankrupt on Bain’s watch, did emerge and recover.
Bain issued the following statement in response to the workers’ remarks: “Bain Capital grows companies and improves their operations. It is disappointing to watch the distortion of our record and the political hyperbole that often occurs during campaigns. We are extremely proud of our employees and management teams who have grown over 80 percent of the more than 350 companies in which we have invested over 28 years.”
Michele Davis, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, said, “Convention speakers can’t distract Americans from President Obama’s failed record on jobs. Former President Clinton has commended Governor Romney for his ‘sterling business career’ growing and fixing companies. Governor Romney has the plan and the experience to put America back to work.”
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify the employment status of some workers who were associated with Bain Capital.