Meet Richard Hayes — a sanitation worker in La Jolla, California. One of the super-wealthy people on his route is Mitt Romney.
The fact that one of Romney’s homes is on Hayes’ route gave him an interesting vantage point from which to critique the Republican presidential candidate’s now-infamous comments about the “47 percent” of Americans who in Romney’s words, refuse to take personal responsibility for themselves, pay no income taxes, and will vote for President Obama “no matter what,” due to their dependence on government.
Hayes, 33, is featured in a series of web videos from AFSCME, which highlight the 47 percent who, in the union’s parlance, “make Romney’s home happen.”
The third-generation sanitation worker from San Diego, California, is one of three people who work in Romney’s California neighborhood, in jobs that place them potentially in Romney’s “47 percent” class. AFSCME says its members nationwide earn an average of $40,000 per year.
“We’re kind of like the invisible people,” Hayes says in the 60-second video. “He doesn’t realize that the service we provide: if it wasn’t for us, it would be a big health issue, us not picking up trash. Picking up 15, 16 tons by hand, you know that takes a toll on your body. When I’m 55, 60 years old, I know my body’s gonna be break down [sic]. Mitt Romney doesn’t care about that.”
The union, which is supporting President Barack Obama’s re-election effort, has also launched a website, on which Hayes and two other California union workers are featured: “Temo” Fuentes, a maintenance worker who fixes the fire trucks in Romney’s La Jolla neighborhood, and Joan Raymond, a soon-to-be retired sanitation worker who formerly worked the same route as Hayes. All three criticize Romney for comments about the president wanting to add teachers, firefighters and other public workers, and for what they see as dismissiveness toward blue collar workers. The campaign also includes an infographic called “we make Mitt’s home happen.”
“Most people know of Mitt Romney’s ocean-front home, because he paid $12 million dollars for it, and is going to gut it and put in an elevator for his cars,” said AFSCME president Lee Saunders in a statement provided to theGrio.
“We know his house because it is in La Jolla, one of the wealthiest communities in America — and it is where people like Richard Hayes do the work of keeping that neighborhood beautiful and running. Mitt Romney says his job is not to care about nearly half of America. Whatever your political stripe, no one should be so disregarding, dismissive, and disrespectful of half of the country. So we wanted to put a face on the hard working men and woman who Mitt relies on for public services.”
The Romney campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
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