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November ’08 is not a good time to be looking for a job in Dayton, Ohio. ANP producers David Murdock and Mike Fritz continue their road trip with reporter Tony Pugh of McClatchy Newspapers, stopping in Dayton to hear from workers struggling to find a lifeline in tempestuous times. This was once a place where good union jobs were plentiful in the auto plants dotting the landscape, and generations of Ohioans depended on the factories to provide steady incomes with good health care and pension benefits. But the hard times currently hitting Wall Street have been felt here since 2006 and the Dayton Job Center is now taking in more than three thousand visits a month with people looking for work.

Story Transcript

Fallout on Main Street: Dark Days in Dayton, Ohio
By David Murdock and Tony Pugh

JEROME MCCORRY: Dayton was primarily known for two things. You had a lot of colleges right here in this area, so you could get a good-quality education. But the other thing was, if you didn’t want to get an education and wanted to go to work right after high school, you had the inlet, and you had GM, you had Chrysler, you had so much here to choose from that you could make as much money in those places as the average college grad. Well, that’s changing; it has changed dramatically.

TEXT ON SCREEN: The Montgomery County Job Bank logs 3,300 visits a month from people looking for work. The number of visits has increased 30 percent in 2008.

PHIL LANGE: I was employed at General Motors for 13 years, building the SUVs. I did everything from installing radiators to mufflers. Worked on the engine line. When they called us in for the meeting about the closure, I thought, okay, they’re going to drop another shift, maybe, maybe drop a second shift. But they came in and said we’re going to cease production. I was shell shocked. Why couldn’t this company bring in a vehicle that is selling, instead of the SUVs, which the market’s dried up for?

CYNTHIA ELY: Well, they said that our job was going to leave and it was going out, and we could either transfer to another plant or take a buyout. And I chose to take a buyout at that time and go to school.

TONY LAROCCO: Industrial sales, and that was my background. This is welding and generic, so I just can’t find anything. In Dayton, Ohio, it’s pretty bad.

ANTHONY WILLIAMS: The last job I had was I was a road truck driver, and I did that for a year. You know, it’s pretty tight right now. Very few places are doing any hiring, and a lot of places are closing down.

ELY: Well, the buyout helped me to where that I could take care of my kids and not work at the time that I was going to school, because I was being a full-time mom and I was going to school full time. So that helped me in that way. But, you know, once it’s gone, you need to start back over again. So—. Yes, I have been also to interviews, and they tell me the same thing: they want experience, at least one, two years. And then you say, well, how am I going to get it if you don’t give it to me? You know. So, I mean, that’s where we’re at right now.

MCCORRY: We’re making it from a mortgage standpoint, we’re keeping the bills paid, but it is a very difficult process. We choose at the end of the month how much of which we’re going to pay, because it’s much more difficult to pay the entire amount now. I’m starting to see things I’ve never seen, yeah, the final notices, if you will—gas and electric, telephone bills being duplicated, things that we normally just take care of right off the bat.

WILLIAMS: You know, it’s bad. Basically, we are in a state of emergency right now.

ELY: I’ve known people that are losing their houses, and they don’t think it’s fair for the banks and the big corporations to get the bailout when they need help themselves and they’re not getting any help right now.

LAROCCO: Wall Street are thieves. That’s all I can say on that basis right there. You can quote me on that. So—. How much money do you need? Okay. Question.

ELY: I don’t think it’s fair for them to get money and go on these expensive vacations, and the people that’s losing their homes have nothing.

TEXT ON SCREEN: Montgomery County foreclosures rose 145 percent last year.

THOMAS BANKSTON: You have to kind of reevaluate where you are, you have to make decisions and perhaps do things you may not have previously done before, simply because the world dictates it right now. You know, people’s lives dictate what they’ve got to do. And that’s kind of where I think a lot of us are. I know at least that’s where I am.

LANGE: It’s going to be one heck of a change. I may have to get a second job. I’m not sure. But, yes, I’m not going to make anywhere near what I did at GM, and I know that.

MCCORRY: One of the ways I look at it, and I think it’s because of my faith perspective, so I tell people all the time, don’t give up, because I think that there’s some shifting that’s taking place that means that middle-income people and lower-income people are somehow going to end up getting a bigger piece of the pie. I think that people are going to get so frustrated and tired of this whole corporate piece that this great shaking up is going to cause something to change. And I think it’s God’s way of saying, “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got it in control. I’m switching some stuff around.” I think we’re going to go through a rebuilding process, and I think we’re going to become that country that we certainly have the potential to become.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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