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When I began working there, the company had sites in Worcester, Boston and Westwood, Massachusetts. We didn't make much money then, but it seemed the owners were satisfied with their share of small profits, which still allowed them to live well. Executive salaries in the tens of millions of dollars was not common and really could never have been accommodated given our tiny profits at the time. It was a different time then. The profit motive was not the only consideration to businessmen at that time. Employees made the difference and executives realized that and honored them for it. We all could feel the warm concern that our employers had for us. Many of us worked for them for a long time. We were a small "family" that grew with each other. We considered ourselves scientifically trained intellectuals and all had respect for each other. We had fun doing our jobs and fun socializing with each other.
Investment in research helped us rapidly develop a number of new diagnostics kits and our product line and profits began to increase. In about a year after I started, the business expanded and moved from Worcester to a nice new facility in Billerica. And that is where I worked for the next 20 years.
For those of us who were terminated, it was a stressful time. Jobs were not easy to find. One of our young colleagues was found dead in his apartment. I never knew why he died. It may have been due to some other cause or due to some other reason, but I tended to believe it was suicide.
Because of my longevity with Dupont I was one of the lucky ones. I had enough time in to have earned a Dupont pension. I was given eleven and a half months severance pay and eleven months later I finally found a lower paying job. Not my best choice in jobs, but my only choice since I had come up empty on any other offers. At the time I thought this was terrible, but I did not know that my lay-off in 1995 was going to save me from a fate worse than the lay-off I had just experienced.
Dupont management's undisclosed plan was to divest entirely of the medical diagnostics division. Dupont's main reason for the move from Billerica to Boston was to move the medical diagnostic personnel into a common location with the other medical site that they also planned to sell off. Some commonly refer to this as putting all the crap into one sock. The year after I was laid off, in 1996 Dupont found a buyer in Bain Capital.
|Mitt Romney and Bain Capital team|
In 1996 Bain included my former colleagues into the Dade organization. During Bain's reign over Dade International, more than 1700 US workers were laid off. Some of my colleagues were the first with a layoff in 1997. At first Bain's approach to cost cutting included reducing salaries and not paying overtime to existing employees. Then they revoked their pensions. Finally they laid them off.
In 2002 Dade's liabilities reached nearly $2 billion. By leveraging the company so badly in order to pay themselves, Bain put the company into bankruptcy. In the bankruptcy, Romney was accused of "unjust enrichment" and Bain had to relinquish its remaining ownership of Dade. Romney and Bain kept the $342 million. The other creditors didn't fair so well.
After bankruptcy, Dade's revenue and share price rapidly increased and it was bought by Siemens in 2007.
Here's hoping that many of my former colleagues survived Romney and Bain Capital. My bet is that they will not be voting for Romney for President, even if they're Republicans.