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Michigan CofCC leader makes New York Times. News Team

Photo Right: Michigan CofCC leader John Raterink pictured in the New York Times

After getting several letters to the editor published in multiple Michigan newspapers, Raterink was contacted by the New York Times for his opinion on the potential Auto bailout.

From New York Times…

John Raterink, a tool and machine maker who works at a small shop in Grand Rapids that supplies parts to the auto industry, opposes a bailout even though his livelihood is tethered to the car makers. Mr. Raterink, 46, points a finger at the Big Three for a lot of economic misery.

“I remember when G.M. shut down 11 plants, some of which were in the Great Lakes region,” he said. “They said, ‘We can’t afford to keep doing business like this.’ But do you know what happened at the upper echelon of G.M.? They got six-figure bonuses at the end of the year. It’s really hard to feel sorry for a company that’s lived so high on the hog.”

Mr. Raterink said he had seen dozens of machine shops like his disappear across western Michigan because of the outsourcing of work to other countries.

“If we look at thousands of workers in counties around here, they got no sympathy,” he said. “We got hurt, and we got hurt badly. As a result of their practices, I haven’t seen a raise in six years, and I’ve seen my health benefits decline.”

“Do I think things could get worse?” Mr. Raterink said. “Absolutely. But bear in mind that we’ve already been dealing with this since the last quarter of ’99. If I have to pull myselfup by my own bootstraps, I hope G.M. faces that same reality of pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.”

At the shop where Mr. Raterink makes tools and machinery, there used to be 15 men. Now there are five.

“They weren’t offered any bailout,” he said of those who lost their jobs. Then, of the Big Three and the mismanagement he perceives, he added, “The wolf you let loose is at your door.”

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