Cindy Hewitt says that Bain Capital pushed her to enforce the most unethical human resources actions of her career. Hewitt, who appeared tonight on MSNBC's Politics Nation, was an HR manager with Dade Behring, a South Florida medical equipment company that was bought by Bain in the late '90s.
By the time Bain had finished the job, Dade Behring was bankrupt, and 3,000 people were fresh out of work. That included some workers who were fired shortly after being recruited to move from Puerto Rico to Miami for the promise of steady jobs. Bain's investors profited $242 million from the takeover.
Hewitt helped oversee the layoffs, saw the worker devastation first-hand, and felt pressured to oversee a process that made her morally uncomfortable. "I take the claim that [Romney] created jobs to be offensive," she said. "I fear that Romney's policies will create a further erosion of the middle class."
Hewitt is currently working with the Obama campaign, and she spoke with Rev. Al Sharpton on Politics Nation tonight to recall how the Bain takeover went down and how the experience led her to question the difference between success in government and success in business.
Democratic strategist Tad Devine said that Hewitt's story is typical of companies that were managed by Bain. Of Romney and Bain's investors, Devine said, "All they did was destroy companies left and right and enrich themselves."
Hewitt made clear that she does not doubt that Bain made legal profits for its investors. But the experience with Bain, maximizing profits at the expense of worker stability, was one of the only times in her career where she felt pressured to do something unethical.
"I'm not arguing the validity of venture capital," she said. But Hewitt suggested that there is a dramatic difference in the value of a businessman delivering profits to a group of investors, and a president who we want to ensure security and success to all Americans.