(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — The Democratic National Convention on Wednesday featured three speakers billed as “former employees of companies controlled by Bain Capital.” They each told compelling stories about jobs lost, allegedly because of the actions of Bain under Romney’s leadership. But it turns out one of those employees never actually worked for a company controlled by Bain Capital.
David Foster was supposedly one of those former employees on the convention schedule. He told the story about 750 steelworkers who lost their jobs when the Bain-controlled company GST steel filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s.
“In 2001, with GST bankrupt and Romney still CEO of Bain, I stood in front of hundreds of steelworkers in their 50s and 60s, and retirees in their 70s and 80s, and told them Romney and Bain had broken their promises. Jobs, vacation pay, severance, health insurance and pension benefits that were promised — they were all gone,” he said.
But Foster, according to a former spokesman for GST Steel, never actually worked for the company.
“David Foster was never an employee of GST Steel’s Kansas City plant. He was employed by the United Steelworkers of America as their regional union director to represent GST Steel, but was not employed at our facility,” according to BC Huselton, who was head of HR at GST.
Instead, Foster was a union organizer, who negotiated for workers that did work for the company.
Foster explained in his remarks that he was an organizer during his dealings with GST Steel. But it is not clear from the remarks that he never worked for a company controlled by Bain.
Foster was prominently featured in an Obama campaign video, “Romney economics,” where he is identified as lead negotiator for workers at GST Steel. In the video he explains that Bain executives took bonuses even as the company flailed. Politifact rated that Obama video “mostly true.”
An Obama campaign TV ad based on the story of a GST worker who suggests that his wife’s death from cancer years later was due in part to losing health insurance when the plant closed got a “false” from Politifact and drew criticism for being misleading.
But the Romney campaign has released its own version of what happened at GST Steel. The video features a former executive, Huselton, who says that Bain’s actions actually saved the company.
“There’s this vampire story that Bain comes in and shows its teeth and sucks the blood out of the operation,” says Huselton. “It’s really quite the opposite. We went out looking for a blood donor. Bain came in, and the way I look at it actually gave us a blood transfusion.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tal Kopan and Jeremy Diamond, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Euan McKirdy, Bryony Jones and Barry Neild, CNN