Richard Hayes, Mitt Romney’s garbage man, voices his concerns about the presidential hopeful in a new attack ad. Hayes asserts that Romney’s attitude toward the so-called 47 percent shows a lack of concern for working-class Americans.
“We’re kind of like the invisible people,” says the City of San Diego sanitation worker. “He doesn’t realize that the services we provide … without us there’d be a big health issue with us not picking up trash.”
The video was posted to YouTube on Oct. 1 by theAmerican Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The labor union's description of the video claims that Hayes’ route includes Mitt Romney's $12 million oceanfront villa in La Jolla, Calif.
“Picking up 15, 16 tons by hand, that takes a toll on your body,” states Hayes. “When I'm 55, 60 years old, I know my body's gonna be [sic] break down. Mitt Romney doesn't care about that.”
The attack ad plays to the idea that Romney’s life of priviledge has prevented him from understanding the gripes of blue-collar workers like a garbage man. The National Review points out, however, that Romney has undertaken laborious jobs like cooking sausages at Fenway Park, working on an asphalt paving crew, stacking bales of hay on a farm, volunteering in an emergency room, serving food at a nursing home, working as a child-care assistant, and even santiation work, which Romney notes in his 2010 book “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness,” on page 251.
“One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector. I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston. As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me. It was as if I was invisible. Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. – I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever. Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did: “Nice job, Mitt,” they called. “Why don’t you find an easier job?” And then they good-naturedly came down and helped me pick up my mess.”
Hayes’ roll is just the first of many videos planned in an attack campaign against the former Massachusetts governor. Politico reports that the campaign will consist of online testimonials, survey tools and recruiting tools.
"Mitt Romney's '47 percent' videotape revealed his contempt for tens of millions of Americans," Yahoo News reports AFSCME President Lee Saunders wrote in a blog post that has since been deleted. "Romney seems only to be relaxed and at ease when he is surrounded by other millionaires and people willing to pay $50,000 to share a meal with him. And it is only those wealthy donors who get to know what is really on his mind. They spend more money than most Americans make in a year to ask Mitt Romney questions and listen to his reckless banter about Americans like Richard Hayes."
"No one forced Romney to trash these Americans," Saunders added in defense of the AFSCME attack campaign. "He was simply stating, to a privileged audience behind closed doors, what he really believes. He never expected that his remarks would be heard by the wider public."
The AFSCME website claims that the organization's 1.6 million members provide crucial services that “make America happen.” The union works for fairness in the workplace, and provides opportunities and public services for working families, it says.