Low wage, part time jobs are key to Romney’s claims of job creation “success”

Low-wage, part-time Staples jobs are Romney’s go-to example of job creation ‘success’

Mitt Romney often champions the success of retail chain Staples as one of his main qualifications for the presidency. Here are some facts about the nearly 90,000 jobs Romney likes to say he helped create at Staples:

  • 41 percent are part-time jobs.
  • Hourly wages for sales associates are less than $9 an hour.
  • Retail salespeople make about $20,670 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is lower than the federal poverty line for a family of four.
  • Staples describes its own workforce this way: “Many of our associates, particularly in retail stores, are in entry-level or part-time positions with historically high rates of turnover.”
  • Staples has been listed by the National Employment Law Project as one of the 50 largest low-wage employers in the country.
  • In 1987, a year after Staples was founded, there were 13,347 office supply stores across the country. Ten years later that number was cut in half, to just 6,178 office supply stores.
  • When Staples was founded in 1986, the market share of small and medium-sized sellers of office supplies was 20 percent. By 1998, it had plunged to just four percent.
  • The market share of large superstores, meanwhile, shot up from less than one percent to 20 percent during that same period.

Read more about Romney’s job creation record at Staples — including our interview with Staples founder Tom Stemberg — on our website.

Mitt Romney wants you to have the freedom to work 3 or 4 of these jobs all at once. He’s fightin’ for the middle-class! 

And remember: unions are the problem, with all their fighting and negotiating for living wages and benefits for the working class… right, GOP base zombies?

America before Bain Capital: Ampad in Marion, Indiana

A powerful ad featuring Mike Earnest, a former employee of Ampad in Marion, Indiana, where he describes a cruel trick that was played on the employees shortly before all three shifts at the Marion plant were laid off en masse one day.

Transcript via DailyKos:

On Screen: Marion, Indiana

Mike Earnest: Out of the blue one day, we were told to build a 30 foot stage. Gathered the guys, and we built that 30 foot stage, not knowing what it was for.

On Screen: Mitt Romney and Bain Capital purchased the paper plant.

Mike Earnest: Just days later, all three shifts were told to assemble in the warehouse.

On Screen: The company was profitable, with three shifts working.

Mike Earnest: A group of people walked out on that stage and told us the plant is now closed and all of you are fired. I looked both ways. I looked at the crowd and ah, we all just lost our jobs. We don’t have an income.

On Screen: “there’s little question he made a forture from businesses he helped destroy.” — New York Post 2/19/11

Mike Earnest: Mitt Romney made over a 100 million dollars by shutting down our plant and devestated our lives. Turns out that when we built that stage it was like building my own coffin, and it just made me sick.

On Screen: If Mitt Romney wins, the middle class loses.

It takes a special kind of cruelty to get people to build you a stage so you can use it to tell them that their life, as they’ve known it, is over. It’s like saying “Fuck you!” with a extra big flourish, like kicking them in the head, don’t you think?

It’s almost like a not very funny prank. Oh, right…

In May, the Obama campaign put out a 5-minute web video on Ampad. Shortly after, ABC News commented on what information Bain Capital left out of its many, subsequent Ampad defenses:

[I]n 1999, Bain was actually the largest single shareholder of Ampad. In addition, as of 1999, three Bain executives were sat on Ampad’s board of directors. [...] one of the big box retailers putting pressure on Ampad was a company Romney often holds up as a Bain success story — the office supply giant, Staples.

In a 2008 Boston Globe article headlined, “As Bain slashed jobs, Romney stayed to side,” reporter Robert Gavn writes that Ampad “became squeezed between onerous debt that had financed acquisitions and falling prices for its office-supply products. Its biggest customers — including Staples — used their buying power and access to Asian suppliers to demand lower prices from Ampad.” The article also notes that Romney sat on the Staples board of directors during the period of Ampad’s slide into bankruptcy, which occurred in 2000.

Take a profitable American company, take out numerous loans against it and pocket the money; now make it compete against low-wage Asian companies (that you may have an interest in) to supply other businesses you own — and fire the employees when it can’t compete; finally close down the company in bankruptcy (can’t compete, heavily in debt) and walk away with an overall profit for yourself.

Romney knows “why jobs come and why they go,” and now, according to Mitt Romney’s and Bain Capital’s formula for success, so do we.