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September 13, 2007

the rust belt

I spent Tuesday in Dayton, a city that I have visited several times each year since 1987. I go there to work with the Kettering Foundation, but the city reminds me of my hometown of Syracuse, NY--also a former manufacturing city that once depended on automotive plants. As we drove past the big GM plant in Moraine, OH (where shifts have recently been cut), the driver of my shuttle told me that he had worked for decades at Dayco, an auto parts manufacturer. Dayco was bought out and, according to my driver, the new owners got rid of everyone over 50. So now he drives a shuttle bus for $7/hour plus tips but no benefits. He works seven days a week and sometimes has to sleep in the airport if a late flight is badly delayed. He looked at least 60 years old.

It's not an unusual story, but it's a story worth telling and retelling. (By the way, tip your driver.)

September 13, 2007 10:46 AM | category: none


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