By Caroline Lochhead at SF Gate
Brave New Films and the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor has a new video out tying Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina to California’s high unemployment rate, interviewing several of the 30,000 former Hewlett Packard workers who were laid off during her tenure there from 1999 to 2005.
Fiorina’s campaign is fighting back back with its own video, called “Truth.” It quotes former Intel chief Craig Barrett, a big Fiorina fan, and has former H-P manager Vince Blecha asking, “What would Barbara Boxer have done? Would she have just raised product prices so we could cut even more jobs? She had to adhere to a budget. She couldn’t just spend her way out of problems.”
The end of the video says, “Carly helped save HP. She can help save California.
Fiorina is locked in what is now viewed as a toss-up with 18-year Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer.
On the union video, one of the former workers, Mike Angles, 56, of West San Jose said the layoffs were poorly handled. Angles was an IT project manager at the time.
Angles told the Chronicle today he is concerned that, “We now have that CEO running for political office on the message, ‘I’m going to create jobs; I was part of the management team when she destroyed thousands of jobs,” including the help desk. “Granted, there were economic reasons, I understand that. It’s more the way it was done.”
He’s now working as a real estate appraiser, but with the housing market in the tank, he said he mostly travels with his wife and works on fixing up their house.
Angles said he moved on a long time ago, but if he’s angry about anything, it’s “all the people who put their lives into the company, the culture, the H-P way, that quite frankly never recovered from that.” He said long-time employees were sometimes told by a stranger to come into a conference room, told they were fired, and escorted straight to the door.
Former CEO Mark Hurd, who more or less followed Fiorina at H-P and recently left with a $12 million plus severance package after a sex scandal, also laid off thousands of workers. He’s now at Oracle. Lots more messiness around that.
“Mark continued on same strategy that Carly started,” Angles said. “I would say Mark did what he does well and that is he cuts and slashes.”
Fiorina said the job she did at H-P is her proudest accomplishment, and mounted a defense in her autobiography, Tough Choices. Her job there is undergoing a reassessment in light of H-P’s performance since, but still rouses intense passions.