A tough eight-hour commute

An auto worker decides to stay with GM -- even though that means working 500 miles away.

By Kim Peterson Feb 22, 2010 1:06PM
It's a sad sign of the times -- and of the state of the U.S. auto industry: One General Motors worker now drives an eight-hour commute to keep his job.

The Huffington Post has the story of Michael Hanley, who faced losing his job after GM shut down the Wisconsin plant he worked at. He could either look for a new job where there were few available, or track down a GM opening, wherever that may be.

He decided to keep his GM paycheck and health insurance, even though that meant working in Fairfax, Kan. Once a week, he drives back home to see his wife and children -- a round-trip journey of more than 1,000 miles.

Like many other divided GM families, the Hanleys decided even though the job was important, there were reasons not to uproot everyone: Laura works at their sons' Catholic school, the boys are immersed in band, Scouts, basketball and church, and the sale of a house was an iffy and perhaps money-losing proposition.

For Hanley, writes Sharon Cohen, the trade-off was financial security for a lonely existence. He plans to do this for another 18 months until he turns 50, and is hoping he can get a retirement package at that point.



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