From Marc Turner/post by:The Associated Press-A job, but there’s a catch: a 1,000-mile commute Part-1

Posted: February 22, 2010 in The Matrix

Good day all,

   This is Marc Turner With a story that is so sad but is True for allot of People. This Story is so Long it had to be broken into 2parts!!!! Enjoy

 

JANESVILLE, Wis. – In the early dawn, after another week building cars, Michael Hanley leaves his job in Kansas. He quickly zips into Missouri, then heads up a ribbon of highway past grain silos and grazing deer, across the frozen fields of Iowa, over the Mississippi River and into the rolling hills of Wisconsin. Finally, he pulls into his driveway — 530 miles later.

It’s one heck of a haul: more than 1,000 miles roundtrip, 16-plus hours of driving, every week.

“I like to say I gave up an eight-minute commute for an eight-hour commute,” he says wearily, running a hand though salt-and-pepper hair as he watches his two sons play basketball for the first time this season.

After the aging General Motors plant where he worked for 23 years was idled about a year ago, Hanley faced a Hobson’s choice: Stay with his family and search for an autoworker’s salary ($28 an hour) in a county where more than 40 percent of its manufacturing jobs disappeared from 2006 to 2009. Or hang on to his GM paycheck and health insurance and follow the job, no matter where it leads.

In his case, it led to Fairfax, Kan., the same place his brother and two brothers-in-law — also GM workers, and now his roommates — landed. For others, it has been Indiana or Texas.

The long commute is not just a story of hard times, tough choices and a shrinking American auto industry. It’s also a case study of what happens when an aging industrial town loses an anchor, when workers too old to start over and too young to retire are caught in a squeeze and when economic survival means one family, but two far-flung ZIP codes.

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