I apologize if the following is too long, i wrote it but didn't know where to send it :
Five yrs ago I was a team leader of the Ford 350 "A" Pillar auto-welder assembly team at Tower Automotive in Greenville MI. This was the forth team I lead plus several temp Foreman assignments and special assignments in shipping.
Twenty Three years in there and starting to actually enjoy the benefits of my seniority. Towers was the highest paying place in town ($18.75) and we worked for that check but we also spent that check locally for the most part.
Federal Mogal had just gone through their contract fight and lost, giving up six dollars an hour plus paying most of their own insurance and so on down the list of benefits. There was talk of walking out and/or just closing the place. That's when Gov Grandholm made a personal appearance at the factory (which was right across the street), we had to show our id's and crap just to get in our own work place that day. There was a big news story and Federal was saved by the visit ......
So when Towers announced the closing of the plant, (after many hours of refusing to negotiate) there was a request made for a visit from the Governor that went unanswered. The corporate entity was allowed to just close it without any regard to lives it would kill. It had only owned us for about 10 yrs or i mean it only took them 10 yrs to destroy what that family owned business worked 140 yrs to build, we gave them double digit profit up to the day it closed. Several of "the guys from work" have passed on since the closing, they started there straight from high school or the family farm, others like me, who just turned 50 didn't/don't stand a chance and have jumped through the hoops that had no real purpose except that the government is able to say "they helped".
We are told our only option is to re-invent ourself through schooling .....
I've spent 50 yrs inventing "me" ..... don't (in all reality) think i have 50 yrs left.
Five yrs ago I was a part of the backbone of this country,
I went to work,
I paid my taxes,
I had a savings,
I had a 401K,
I spent most of my pay check locally,
I used to take my grand children to the movies,
I used to be able to buy my wife a holiday gift,
I paid my auto, renters and life insurance and even had the safe driver multicar discount,
I paid my union dues,
I had regular visits with the dentist,
I used to rent a hot tub every friday nite,
I used to go to the drag races, (summer)
I used to go to monster truck shows, (winter)
I paid into the unemployment benefits for the past 30+ yrs.,
I used to donate to the Special Olympics of Michigan,
I used to donate to the State Police,
I used to donate to the United Way,
I used to have subscriptions to Popular Science, Car Craft, Mechanics Illustrated and the Grand Rapids Press,
I had a life
Now I'm branded a 99er .....
I'm trying to start a small entertainment business, this is/was what i was working and planning for.
This is my dream/plan for a working, traveling, semi-retirement. My website tells my story :
I have asked all of the proper agencies for help starting this "small business" and received none.
Reasons being : not asking for enough money, don't have a job to pay the loan, doesn't involve schooling.
I have about 33 yrs in factory life, supporting "the system", paying my dues and for what?
TO BE BRANDED a 99ER !!!
Every generation has to have the homeless to forget/ignore ....
Why isn't the poverty level shown along side the other stats ?
Louis Tetreau came from St - Martin - de - Liguge, France in 1662 and settled in Trois - Rivieres, Quebec.
Which was known as New France, 124 yrs. before America was born .......
This is my Father's Father's branch of the tree.
My Father's Mother's branch are straight from England and just as old.
Both of My Mother's parents are French Canadian around the Maine area.
In case my citizenship is in question.
I'm proud to be an American but am ashamed and dismayed at it's management.
Chip Tatroe (Tetreau)
Ex-backbone/middle (working) class