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Faces of Romney economics: Joe Soptic, American steelworker

Joe Soptic worked at GST Steel in Kansas City for nearly 30 years. He earned a good salary, bought a house and a car, sent his daughter to college—his family felt secure in the middle class. Joe and his coworkers made high-quality American steel, and they were proud of it.

“There was a real sense of community among the workers. We watched out for one another, we enjoyed coming to work every day, our jobs were good jobs.”

But their hard work and responsibility never fully paid off. In 1993, Mitt Romney led a group of investors who took control of GST Steel. They cut costs, began extracting big profits in the form of dividends, and heaped debt on what had been a successful company. By 1995, the company's total debt had grown to $378 million, and there were mounting concerns that the employee pensions were being dangerously underfunded.

By 2001, the company's debt had grown to $500 million, and GST Steel was forced into bankruptcy.

Joe lost his job and only received a portion of the pension he had earned. Luckily, Joe found a new job as a school custodian, but it paid one-third of his previous salary and his wife was no longer covered by his health insurance plan.

Mitt Romney and his partners, on the other hand, walked away with more than $12 million in profit.

“It’s upsetting what Mitt Romney and his partners did to us here in Kansas City. They came in, they bought the plant and then made as much money off it as they could. Once there wasn’t any more money they thought they could make, they closed it down and filed for bankruptcy—with no concern for the folks who worked there.”

Joe’s not the only one: More than 750 workers lost their jobs when GST Steel closed. Learn the full story, and find out the truth behind Mitt Romney’s business experience—visit today.

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