American Morning

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March 9th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

Would you move 1000 miles for your job?

By Bob Ruff, CNN

(CNN) – What would you do if your company closed its doors, but offered you the same job 1000 miles away?

In December 2008, in the depths of the recession, GM worker Steve Kerl faced that same question. Just 8 years from retirement, his GM assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin was shut down. 1,933 workers were out of work.

“What are we going to do?” was Kerl’s first reaction. “Are we going to have our health care? How are we going to come out? We didn’t even know if you were going to have a job.”

Most of the Janesville plant workers took buyouts. But 545 of them were fortunate enough to be offered jobs at other GM plants. The catch? The plants are hundreds of miles from Wisconsin.

What would you do?

Kerl took a job putting fenders on GM SUV’s in Arlington, Texas. It’s hard work. At the end of his 10-hour shifts he goes back to bunk with two other GM workers in a three-bedroom apartment near the plant. Home is 1000 miles away.

Kerl’s wife and two teenage kids remain behind in Janesville. The Kerls didn’t want to take the kids out of school. And they couldn’t face the prospect of selling their house anyway with real estate prices plummeting.

The Kerl family, along with many others who worked at GM in Janesville, is yet another side of the recession. Families physically separated by economic circumstances beyond their control. The sacrifice is palpable.

“In the last couple of months, “ he told us, “I missed all of my daughter’s gymnastics meets. I missed her birthday…I missed my boy’s birthday. So [these] are things you’re never going to get back. You know, that’s gone.”

The sacrifice is spread evenly throughout the family.

“Steve will talk to me on the phone,” his wife, Kristy, told us, “and, you know, get me through it. Hang in there. And then there’s the days that calls come in that he’s like, you know what, I’m not doing this anymore. You know, I want to come home. And I’m like, no! Hang in there!”

Jenessa, their teenage daughter, says it’s “really hard…I mean, what other 16-year-old doesn’t want their Dad around? He’s always been the one that’s at the meets, and always there for support. “

Jeramie Kerl, 19, is their son: “When Dad left I kind of had to assume most of the responsibilities that he did, the outside work…mowing the grass, which he took care of.”

In the midst of all of this, the Kerls have literally opened their Janesville home to the 16-year-old daughter of another former Janesville plant worker and his wife, both of whom have moved to work at an Indiana GM plant. Steve introduced us to Grace, who is Jenessa’s friend. Everyone wanted Grace to be able to finish her sophomore year before moving to Indiana.

“We like to have her here,” says Steve.

As we finished the interview with the Kerls, Steve told us the separation has been too much. They’re moving to Texas. The house just sold, at a loss, and they hope to be together near Arlington before the end of the summer.

As we watched Steve pack for the long trip back to Texas, we saw him trying to figure out a way to squeeze a hunk of Wisconsin cheese into his packed suitcase.

“This will always be our home,” he said.

“You’ll never take Wisconsin out of us,” added Kristy. “We’ll return some day.”

Filed under: Economy
soundoff (384 Responses)
  1. BJC

    In response to Sheperd Smite comment:

    You cannot lay the blame of this recession on President Obama. How can he be the cause of this after barely being in office over a year? This is the result of the last administration plain and simple as it always has been. The results from any administration rarely show up until the next administration takes office.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  2. DCC Phillips

    Are military members are doing this all the time. Thousands of our soldiers and sailors work thousands of miles from their families.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  3. Trendy Indy

    I thought CNN was supposed to be world leader in news. Why is it having stories that have already been broadcasted on other news channels weeks ago as its headlines...

    Time to live up to your name

    March 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
  4. Sofia

    I'm really sorry for the hard choice Steve has to make, but. A BIG BUT.

    We as a taxpayers had to rescue this industry so the workers will keep retirement, retirement healthcare and other luxuries that others don't even dream of.
    I won't get any of it in return from the governement, nor from any unions although I pay a huge sum every year.
    Iif I loose my job, God forbid, I don't even have to ask such questions.
    For me and my family its going to be NO healthcare, NO job and NO food on the table and so I'll definitely have to move after employment opportunity.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  5. Marcin

    Big freakin' deal!!!!! In 2004 when steel mills were going bankrupt my position was being eliminated. I got an offer to work for corporate in Europe or take 4 weeks of pay and hit the road. had 2 weeks to pack and go. I've spent 3 years overseas! Finally when things improved, I got back to the same department I was in 2004. So my commute was twice a year 12hr flight to see my family. but you have to do what's right and available at that moment. i just can't believe this story is a front page news.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  6. kirk

    Anybody heard of CO2?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
  7. David

    Steve said it at the beginning, a lot of people are in this position. This isn’t news, it is what happens when the economy is both good and bad.

    I’ve lived a weekend commuter lifestyle for 15 years, and so have many of my neighbors, from both my permanent home neighborhood, and where I live during the week. I’m lucky, I only need to drive 2 ½ hours home on weekends now. Ten years ago during the big economic boom, I was 5 hours away.

    My next door neighbor’s wife works in Florida (we are in Central California) , and he is the second one who has had a home and FL and CA. A coworker went a year here in CA while his family was in AK. Another coworker is starting at least one year in D.C. while his family remains behind.

    Again, this happens in good and bad times, and you pick and choose your job and lifestyle based on your family needs.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  8. Matt

    I do not even need to read the story. I just know that if my wife and son needed me to work and it required me to move to Texas – we would do it. More people can learn that taking a job outside of ones comfort zone in what most people have to do in order to get buy. It is a heck of a lot better than sitting around collecting unemployment and not being an active contributor to society.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  9. Kathryn

    Sherry get off your high horse, or it will be a long, hard fall for you!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  10. Tom

    That's nothing my brother commutes 5,520 miles to his job after he got laid off from his job

    March 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  11. Kiru

    To Jeff, the guy who works all over the US and Canada, and to all the other cynical people out there.

    The difference here is that part of your job description is to travel like that. Being a worker in an automotive plant doesn't have jet-setting as part of your list of responsibilities. It's one thing if you know you'll be traveling as part of your job, but quite another to be forced to do something this extreme because of this crappy economy.

    To Nicholas, you're dead on. Get rid of the illegals and at least citizens will have the opportunity, if they're desperate enough, to get jobs at restaurants, in landscaping, etc. Or get their teenagers to work to help the family. Here in NJ you can't get those types of jobs unless you're illegal. None of the teenagers in my town are able to find jobs because the illegals take them all with their cheap labor and poor quality work.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  12. Bongo

    I've been living this lifestyle for two decades now. Ask anyone in industrial or heavy duty construction you commute to where the work is. I don't see how this is news.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  13. Kris

    Not sure why this is news. A lot of people are in commuting jobs and travel Mon-Friday and are home over the weekend. The way the article was titled it seemed that he commuted 1000 miles each day. Please stop sensationalizing CNN !

    March 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  14. buckwheat

    If we had a majority of people like him this country would not be in the shape it is in. This die trying attitude built this country.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  15. IMYY4U

    Wow, I cannot believe the hate in some of these posts. Trashing on this family, the State of Wisconsin, CNN. The majority of the folks responding seem to have "cup 1/2 full mentalities". If this story were up on Fox would people give it more credence? I think the guy in the story deserves a pat on the back, not all the hate. Yea, yea this type of sacrafice goes on everyday...I know. Are you mad/jealous because it is not/was not your story that was told? BTW, I am not a liberal or a conservative. I am fed up with both sides. I wish I had a big reset button to push.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  16. Scott

    I love a lot of these comments. "People should just shut up and do whatever it is corporations want them to do. Who cares if they break up families and communities? Who cares if they miss out on their kids growing up?" I bet these *SAME* people will talk your ear off about "family values" and the importance of "family". There's an idea developing in America that we have to put up with whatever companies tell us we're going to have to put up with. There's an alternative–UNIONS–but this alternative won't work until 1) we DEMAND that our government end tax breaks for exporting jobs 2) we start buying from local businesses and support our own communities 3) we start enforcing immigration law and end the H1-B Visa program until everyone in the U.S. who wants a job has one.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:53 pm |
  17. Joyce

    See, your commute could be even worse!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  18. David

    This is what America has become.


    March 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  19. Mumford

    I commuted Philly to Seattle every week for a year – You do what you have to do – get over it.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  20. Josh

    I wasn't aware that we had a military draft in this country... For all of the soldiers/families acting like martyrs: you CHOSE this career/lifestyle, knowing that you would potentially be deployed, away from family, shot at, etc. Stop whining.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  21. fuely

    Reading some of the other comments, I feel fortunate to be only commuting 140 miles each way. I've been doing this since I retired from the Air Force in 2005. It can be tough getting up at 4:00 am, hitting the road for two hours, work an eight hour day, hit the road on the return trip for two hours, getting home by 7:00 pm, look at the family for a couple of hours, and then go to bed to start the process all over again. It's worked for the last five years. You do what you have to do, to provide for the family. Why don't I just pack up the family? The spouse also has a career. This is one of our life choices.

    To Matt...this is great article. You need to read more. It gives the readers an understanding that not everyone works within an earshot of their jobs.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm |
  22. LuLu

    I live and work in DC, my family lives in Arizona. I have a 2,500 – 3,000 mile commute, depending on the flight path! We've been doing this for just shy of two years. Though it gets tough at times, we do manage to see each other about every six to eight weeks. Christmas time is best, because I get to go home for nearly three weeks!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  23. Jerry

    This story reminds me, that those in the military, deployed on ships, or in Iraq or Afganistan, have these same kinds of issues year after year. It's tough when your job causes you to miss anniversaries, birthdays, etc. It's a good thing to once in a while reflect upon the sacrifices made by the military and their families on our behalf.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  24. Frank A NYC

    I thought I had a long commute! I travel 2 hours each way every day. You do what you have to so you can provide for your family. I salute the man.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  25. Mario

    He is lucky to have a job.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  26. philip carroll

    well back in 1963 my parents sold all they owned and moved all us 5 kids from an economicaly depressed northern england to vancouver ,canada......moving is tough but my parents did it with 5 kids at age 41.My dad didnt have any skills he was just a labourer.
    It was tough for us kids too having to adjust to a new culture and schools. I think the people in this story should pull up stakes and move to Texas

    March 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  27. annabell

    I am sorry to hear that this family has so much problems, but they can change things around and move to texas. If my husband gets deployed every other year I can't follow him... so excuse me, but it could be worst.
    And he also retires in 6 years so changing careers is not an option either!!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  28. Henik Vargas

    I don't think it is called commuting unless you are... well, commuting.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  29. Maria

    this is reality of life; whether or not society is in economic recession or not; people move where their expertise are needed: to find work, to support family or just to be a productive member of the human society! This family's sacrifice is nothing compared to thousands of families who are distanced from each other several months or years at a time by the call of military duty or other work such as those in the maritime industry. There are various ways to deal with it productively, complaining to the media about it should not be one of them. Either take the job wherever it is or fall in line to recieve a food voucher from the government. Whichever choice you make is dependent on what level of integrity you possess as an individual!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  30. Jord (Ontario, Canada)

    I went 4 months without seeing my pregnant girlfriend while I did military training across the province. Working and training, trying to work out an official entry plan. Finally everything maxed out and the entry plan came too late. I returned to my hometown and sleep on the floor of a tiny apartment while I look for minimuim wage work. My girlfriend lives 75 miles away from here in a city with even less work then my small town. I've seen her once and it's been 5 and a half months now. Once I can pay for groceries on my own I will be going back to the Canadian Military to begin my training again, but this time at least they will pay me. If I get that far.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  31. Hatched

    CNN: "Guy commutes 1000 miles to work." Not according to the article. CNN posted a misleading headline (again).

    March 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  32. Tracey

    My husband is in the construction trade and used to own his own company. When things in Michigan started crashing years ago he lost his company to bankruptcy and took a job with a big construction company that is based in Wisconsin so he could keep the money coming in. I have a job with health benefits in Michigan and we have three children. He has been "gone" for four years now and it has been very hard on us. Since his job takes him all over the U.S. there really is no one place to move to so we can be closer. The longest we have gone without seeing each other is 6 months. He tries to come home at least once a month – but it is usually only for a long weekend. We talk daily, but anyone who is going through this knows that just isn't enough. We can only hope that work in Michigan comes back sooner rather than later. We both get angry because it is like we are living separate lives and we have talked about him "quitting" and just coming home – but like many others, we have worked our entire lives to get to where we are at and we don't want to lose everything we have. So what is the solution? We don't have one – we are just holding on, hoping that Michigan will once again become a thriving State and families can be together again – especially ours!!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  33. Mike

    REALLY, and this makes news. I commute to New Orleans from Atlanta, drive back and forth each weekend for a 1 day visit with family. Ever try to maintain a family, wife, home and an appartment. I can't belive this makes news, all of us that have jobs should be lucky to have one, which I am. And this guy building cars has enough money to fly back and forth, just think of the SkyMiles he must be racking up. Thanks GM, nah I'll just keep my true US owned FORD, not Govt Motors vehicle.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  34. MIlitaryWife

    Welcome to the life that military families live for years! It really is terrible to be away from you families for weeks or months on end. At least he is in the same country. At least you get phone calls when you feel like you can't go on. My heart goes out to this family and all the other families like them. Rmember your not alone... we go without our men for sometimes years at a time.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  35. j

    Dido Matt.

    Also, try a tour in the military. It might give you some perspective on being away from your family and missing family events.

    Or try being homeless. Might give you even better perspective on crummy circumstances.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  36. MJ

    People in the military have been doing this forever. It is nothing new but I guess it makes a great story for the news. This just goes to show that it is hard all over.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  37. SOLRAC

    Nothing new it's not news CNN. And that 19year old better be doing more than just mowing lawns.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  38. KG

    Can you hear the violin playing. Gimme a break. He has a job and apparently, family is doing well considering it's surviving on 1 income. Now think of the migrant workers (legal/illegal) and what they'd be missing and how they're surviving on the salaries they're paid (or not). Also, the overseas workers working here on Work-Visas and what they might be missing. Ppl. relocate all the time. And w/ kids, it's abit tough decision. But, you gotta go w/ the opportunities.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  39. Gary

    As difficult as it is to imagine the absolute best things in life are unexpected, but they are. Who plans to hit the lottery? When it happens most believe it was the most unexpected thing that ever happened in their life. So too, is the move to Texas. You think, or plan, a return to Wisconsin? Wait until you see what the unexpected has planned for you or your kids...

    March 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  40. BJC

    Call me insensitive if you must but I am so tired of hearing people complain about being seperated from their loved ones, especially when it comes to the military. My husband is a disabled veteran and we did our time in the military. We had our seperations just like everyone does today but I never asked anyone to feel sorry for us because of it. God bless those who do choose to serve and protect BUT you made that choice. You knew when you signed on the line to join any branch of the service of the chance of being seperated from your family. You chose it, now deal with it.
    As far as this family in the article, I understand that it is hard but how about being thankful that he has a job? So MANY these days are losing everything that they have. IMO this family needs to cut their losses and move so that they can be together in TX even if that means taking a hit on their home. We are all in a bad situation these days with this recession. No matter what may come for myself and my family, our main priority is BEING TOGETHER. No matter where that may be. Americans can be the most selfish people in the world sometimes, and YES I am American. Be thankful for what you have, it could always be SO MUCH WORSE. Suck it up, and deal with it.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  41. Md

    What is with the headline 'commute'? Its misleading since the guy MOVED and does not commute daily. Cmon!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm |
  42. PLH

    So far I have moved to my third state for a better life. So be it. we must all do what we need to do. I am a single mom who was finally able to purchase a new home on my own and a (nice GM) vehicle by the way. I live in AZ, it's okay but I moved from CA which I liked better. I drive clear across the valley for a job that by far is one of the best jobs I have ever had. It's no big deal to do the drive considering I would take up to 4 different freeways in CA just to go to work there. With the lower cost of living in AZ I am able to put my daughter in a private christian school since the local schools where we live aren't the greatest at all. I currently have a friend working in Kuwait as a contractor since he was unable to find a job in CA after looking for almost a year. He works with our military. He is doing what he needs to do to support his family and our country, just like the soldiers he works with are doing. If you need to move, then move. Yes it is very scary and can be difficult, but you've got to try. I would be no where right now if I didn't try my hardest and believe that I could do it and survive.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
  43. DG

    Kudos to this family for doing what has to be done instead of just giving up. That's the stuff that America was made of. Do what you have to do – they did it in the 1700's and the 1800's. They did it in the 1930's and they did it in the 1940's. We will survive all this if we rely on the strength our ancestors had, and passed along to us. We're Americans – we're tougher than anything!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  44. Leelee

    We should all give thanks for what we have – no matter how little it is or how much – and attempt to share with those who have even less.

    Be thankful, people, your husbands could be over seas fighting a war.


    1000 miles doesn't seem to be so much now does it?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
  45. Sean Edwards

    Ok whats the difference, he made the choice to take the job and not move! He is surviving! Our military do it every day and are away from their families 7-18 months, they to miss their children and wives. Except the military men and woman are getting shot at and working 12-18 hour days with no day off. But it is the choice they made as well. The issue is everyone only thinks of themselves and not others. So good on him for keeping a job even though it is 1000 miles away from his home. You do what you do to survive.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  46. Shannon

    I hate to keep reiterating this but I have a hard time being sympathetic as a military spouse. This is my husband's 2nd deployment- first was for 15 months- this one for 12 months. Not to mention the countless weeks spent away training. By the time this ends we will have been apart more than we've been together with no end in sight. I get that you all didn't sign up for the military but like one person said- try to have some perspective. We experience this ALL this time! Even when they are home there are separations because of moves and having to sell houses. It's a really bad situation- believe me I know. I miss my husband dearly and add to the fact the stress of him getting shot at. At least he has a job that so many in this country don't so there is a bright side to this situation.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  47. Benny

    And this, dear Sirs and Madams, proves once again, barring any physical/mental disability and excluding people who are of minor age, why POVERTY IS A CHOICE in America.

    Hurrah for you and your family. God speed in Texas.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm |
  48. Stephen B Gomes

    While I empathize with Steve and Kristy, I live and work as an expatriate in the Gulf. There are millions of single and married expatriates who live more than thousand of miles away from their families who live in Asia, and the Far East, see their families once a year, and sometimes for more than a year, they live often under enduring and tough conditions, yet live each day like Steve to put food on the table for their loved ones. This is the price of globalization, so near, yet so far. We are all glorified slaves.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm |

    To put food on the table, it amazes me how far people are willing to stretch. To actually work in the auto industry as long as this guy has, that alone is impressive.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  50. LMP

    Welcome to my life - but now I don't feel as bad, I only live Mon-Thurs away from my husband, but thankfully it's only two hrs away. Thought of looking for another job closer to home but not with the economy the way it is, all in all, I feel incredibly fortunate because I have a secure well-paying job. I

    March 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  51. Jeeez

    What is everyone thinking there are no guaranteed jobs anymore, except in the govt which has 100,000 more employees this yr than last. You have to accept that and train yourself and constantly be ready for change. The majority of new jobs are in small to mid size companies that come and go with the wind. You have to be responsible for yourself. Educate yourself learn a trade it is up to the individual not the govt.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  52. P-Dub

    Miltiary does it all the time...quit whinning!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  53. mrg

    I read about this the other day with another working who drove back and forth to Kansas City. He wanted to stay with the company so he could retire with FULL benefits after 30 years at age 49. I think I've figured out why the US auto industry sucks...

    March 9, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  54. Wny

    This is an infuriating article that shows the level of arrogance and indulgement of so many Americans, and I am a born and raised American!!! Why did you, CNN, put such a ridiculous story on air? Poor 19 year old has to take on responsibilities like mowing the lawn!! Boo-Hoo. The precious mom has to move from Wisconsin to Texas, Boo-Hoo. GROW UP! I'd like to ask this family this, "Why do you feel that you're so bad off making your kids do chores they should have been doing all along?" Or, "How many HELOC's did ya'll take out on your house to buy all the things that made you fabulous?" Upside down on your loan for 100K? Yeah right! Get your asses to Texas and shut up!!!! CNN look for another angle on these stories and stop insulting the inteligence of your audience!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  55. Terry

    Why is this news? It's unfortunate for the family, but this has become commonplace. I have been military for 17 years and this is a daily occurence for us, even those that are stationed stateside. Being originally from another Great Lakes area city, Buffalo, I have seen countless families have to separate due to employment loss or company mandated moves. I understand what he's going through because I live it myself, but is it a headlline story? I don't think so. At least he was allowed to continue working for GM and will be eligible for retirement.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  56. graigearle

    "Guy" commutes 1000 miles to work?

    Nice headline, is it casual friday at CNN? Dig the writer get his diploma in a box of cracker jack?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  57. Dawn

    With a husband in the military, I just look at long departures as a normal tradition that has played out since the beginning of man. Man has always had to go out on long missions to support the family. It may not be fun, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do. No point in feeling bad about it. It's not like we're too special to have to endure the same thing women of long ago endured, only with no way of communicating with their husband for months at a time. At least we have cell phones and internet.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  58. Ben

    I had been doing this kind of commute for years, when my wife worked in Western Maryland and I in New York. I drove about 14-16 hours round trip each week to see my wife and the new born baby. It was very tough time, but luckily we moved together after 3 years.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  59. Mr.Pawar

    Dear NIchloas

    When you say shut down immigration, it really hurts. You or most of the ignorant americans think that we came here and stole your jobs. But not one has the courage to leave the US to go look for jobs outside the US. You guys have no idea what a foreign national has to go through to come work in US. We leave behind our families and friends to come work in USA. Remember, it may sounds rude, but we are here cuz, you are not capable of doing the job. And you better get this darn right, that we pay equal taxes as any other citizen, abide by all rules and laws and are a valuable assest to your country. What we get from America is far less in comparision to what we give America. We are even made to pay social security and Medicare, even when we are never going to be eligible for that. So please do me a favor and dont blame foreign nationals. Trust me , if we all decided to go back, there wont be a US of A in existance. We are the ones holding your country togather (financially). So show some gratitude, please. And yes my home is 7000 miles from here and I get to see my family once in 2 years!!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  60. K

    if you are healthy and you have a job that doesn't require you to be beaten if you fall out of line, consider yourself lucky because millions in this world and country would trade places with you in a heart beat

    I don't sympathize with this person, if he has his health he should consider himself lucky

    March 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  61. Shepherd Smite

    The Obama economy is killing everyone. Unemployment has gone way up since he took office.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
  62. Gerry

    Life is just not fair. Deal with it. I moved from New Jersey to Portland, Oregon to Omaha, Nebraska, back to Portland, Oregon, back to New Jersey, to Washington State, to New Jersey again (with a short stint in Karachi, Pakistan) and finally to Pennsylvania following jobs in my field. Does it suck? Yup. Ya does what ya gots to does. No?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  63. NoBigDeal

    How did this make the news? Is this something new? NO! Many families have faced this type of separation long before the recession. Many of my friends work away from their families, that's how the current situation is, it's hard to find job and jobs are not always where you want them to be.
    I used to work in St. Louis when my family lived in Houston. I commuted twice a month for 3 years before my family moved to St.Louis. While I am a huge CNN fan, but sometimes CNN has its ways of making a big deal out of nothing...

    March 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
  64. Jacob

    The ironic thing is I know dozens of guys in the military who have to leave their families behind for years to be stationed in locations where dependents aren't allowed... There are a hundred thousand (figuratively) soldiers and sailors who leave their families behind for 6 months to a year at a stretch to do their jobs during deployments... Why is it a story when a few civilians have to make 1/10th the personal sacrifice? You wanna talk about missing a gymnastics meet or a birthday? How about missing half of your kids life and hoping your spouse and children are waiting for you when you come back?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  65. Rudi Merom


    It shows the strength of the spirit



    March 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  66. Brian

    For two years I commuted nearly 900 miles to a job on the East Coast, it was difficult for my family. I did not see them but every third weekend. But I needed to support my family. Since the economy in Michigan has been destroyed by inept senior business executives and boards of directors who would not listen to employees suggestions, who thought of themselves more then their companies, there was not much choice for me in Michigan. I have now been out of work a year, has have many members of my both my old department at my old company and my 'new company'. My 'new company' failed to take proper risk management in how they invested the companies money (too much exposure to the Financial Sector) and after getting money from another firm decided to eliminate my department which had nothing to do with the failure of the 'my firm', but we were a direct treat to the 'new investor's' business. The firm also got a bail-out from the government by becoming a "Bank Holding Company", (a sham!). Most of Corporate America does not have any Ethics, they are a group of "what's in it for me" with no regard for the effect of their actions on their employees. It is if the workers in this country are "slaves" to Corporate America, to be disposed of "at will".

    March 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  67. Susan

    I s-o-o-o-o agree with you. Companies getting TAX BREAKS to move their headquarters from the USA so that CEO's can make even more profit. Taking jobs from their own country and sending them overseas. The politicians should lose THEIR jobs. Meanwhile, letting people come into the country, some illegally. Sending the jobs out and bringing the people in have, well, we've seen the result of that, economic disaster, except for the CEO'S. They're still getting their big bonuses.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  68. KPS

    I had to move to a different country 8000 miles away to get a job because of recession.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  69. Nan

    Why is this news? Even back in 1977 we lived in Philadelphia and my father after his plant shutdown got a job near Washington, DC. He stayed in a cheap hotel M-F and came home on weekends. Lots of people do this stuff all the time.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  70. Keith

    All I heard was excuses. Don't want to take your kids out of school ! Why? Are Texas schools all that bad? Don't want to sell the house in a down market ! Why? Is saving a few grand a better option than watching your children grow up? This guy needs to re-evaluate his life. We all make choices every day. This guy just made a choice that says his factory job is more important than his family.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm |
  71. Elle

    I agree that this is happening all over. I'm glad that he's making the best of his situation, though. I would have liked to have seen mention of more people however. My husband is a pilot, and we live most of lives apart even when times were good. Now he's a commuter airline pilot, I got a job and we're still about $1000 short every month. But we do what we have to do to survive. I do think it's interesting that, even after being a SAHM for almost 10 years, I had 4 job offers within 14 days of going out and looking for work. 2 of them were decent jobs, paying pretty well, and I took the one closest to home and that the childcare I have (mother in law) would work. I do agree it's been hardest on the kids. Their dad is gone alot, then they had to get used to me only being home when they come home from school only 1 day each week. My 5 year old sometimes still cries and wants to know why I have to go to work so much. The older 2 understand that we're doing it to keep from having to uproot and move. Even so, we can only last like this for about 2 more years, then our savings will run out. (Yes, we are frugal and had a saving account with 6 months of expenses in it.)

    March 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  72. Damaris

    My husband is in the Military, so I know what it's like to be seperated for great lengths of time. On base, there are what we call "geo-bachelors". They live in their assigned city, to work, & when possible, fly home to see their family. They might not be able to get home for 3 months or more.

    Or, they might be overseas for a year or more.

    When possible, our family goes where my husband gets stationed. Otherwise, we e-mail or get a rare call, but we deal with issues the best we can. It can be difficult, but you learn to be very self reliant.

    It's worth more to be with him than to think about how much we're losing on a house. It's just a house; you build memories every day, no matter where you call home.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  73. IT Guy

    Are you guys kidding me!!? Go and find out how many IT professionals (both US based and foreign) are commuting to get to work. This is so common in IT. Wonder why that doesn't create news ...

    March 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  74. Dave Perry

    Commute 1000 miles to work? I've been commuting 1500 miles to work for the last 16 plus months when my company closed it's doors in my hometown of Albany NY. They had been there for 80 years, but never mind that...Now is not the time to be without a job! I've been luckier than most since I just landed a full time job with my company that opened up in Syracuse NY (only a 135 miles away and 2.5 hrs in the car!) Now, I can come home on weekends! Before that, I was coming home only 3-4 days a month. My situation as I've come to find out is hardly unique! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got work to do!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  75. Chris

    I will tell you why it is tough, I am in the same boat. I moved to Houston in October for a job, my wife is a federal employee 8 years till retirement. Our family is now split in 1/2 with twice the bills. There is no work in MO, losing what we worked for the past 20 years was not an option. We hope she can transfer, but so far, no luck. Yep you do what you have to, to get by, but tell my 9 year old son who left to go back Sunday morning as he cried his eyes out, to get over it. You really dont know utill you are put in this situation. It is very hard on your children, and they are the ones impacted for life!

    March 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  76. Matt

    Ok, this has to be the dumbest article ever. For years, people move to where their jobs are. If they are required to move, they move there. Today, in our age, people are choosing to commute insane amounts of miles and time when they could just MOVE THERE, just because they can.

    How can flying to and from your job every week and (probably) staying in a hotel be more cost effective than moving? Sure, you're taking a loss on your home, but that comes with the territory of owning/morgaging a home. If you want to be able to leave without risk, find a home/apartment/condo for rent. In this guy's case, not only is he still paying for his home, but he's paying all these extra travel costs to do this.

    And by the way, families have survived moves from one town to another, it's not the end of the world, and no sane person would find that a better solution is to TRAVEL 1000 MILES for your's so dumb to say "Instead of uprooting the family..." as an excuse for not making the hard choices associated with living in a free-market economy, where businesses close and new ones open, and jobs move to where they need to be...

    Imagine if everyone who travels more than 45 miles in this country for work would just move closer to much less gasoline would we use? How many more resources would be available?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  77. Paul from NY/DC

    I know what this is like – i have been commuting from Rochester NY to Washington DC for 7 years, and I manage to fly back almost every weekend. There are many people that do the exact same thing, and the idea of "extreme commuting" is a given with this group. The only reason I go back and ,maintain a home in Rochester, is to see my three children from a previous marriage. I miss them dearly during the week, and I have given up an awful lot to make this work. The economy in Upstate NY is dying, and there are no jobs for my profession that will pay enough. I love my second home in Washington DC and would love for my kids to come down and live with me full time. Tearing them away from their mother and their school would not be in the cards, even though the opportunities would be better than NY.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  78. C. Provost

    I feel for all the families who have to move or live separately because of job losses. But remember that home is where the family is – not where the house is. Young children are resilient and can bounce back quickly after a move. When I was five we moved to Oregon from Louisiana and then back again. When I was 15 we moved to Conneticut from Louisiana without my older two siblings because they were on their own. That was a hard move because I attended a small school in Louisiana and we were all like family, but I survived!!! The children who have to move to Texas will do fine.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  79. chris

    this is nothing new and to be surprised of. millions from asia/africa commute to usa for work n visit their families atmost once a year. wake up fellows , we never seen real hardship and the golden days are going away

    March 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  80. Karri

    We live in Utah and my husband works in the Gulf of Mexico. He has done this for three years. Hardest thing ever for our teenage daughter. He has had to miss most of her high school basketball games, volleyball games and softball games. She was in the homecoming queen royalty and he had to miss escorting her on the field. But she is a trooper and they have a great realtionship. He talks to her every night before and after her games. He is her biggest supporter. But it has definitely taken a toll. He is gone for six weeks at a time and is home for three weeks. So he definielty makes up for being gone when he is home. In this time of hardship, you just do what you have to, to support your family and we dearly love our dad and husband for all the sacrifices he has made for our family.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  81. niko

    I can't understand why people do this to themselves,? For instance, I ride my bike 10 miles a day back and fourth from work and it is 20 minutes each way. If I take public transportation it takes me over an hour to commute each way. I raced my friend to work once, he was in his car and I was on my bicycle and I beat him by 5 minutes. If it rains I wear gear if its cold i bundle up and if it snows, well i'm out of luck and have to take the bus but that's only in the heart of winter. I see so many people on the bus when I pass them on my bike, it just seems sad to me. It's like not having a machine get you everywhere is strange. Everyone tells me I'm crazy in my family. I tell them that they are crazy.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  82. Joe

    WHY should people be forced to live like this just to survive?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  83. Safety Police

    It's obvious to me that he doesn't follow safety protocol. Everyone who works in a factory environment, especially using power tools, are required by OSHA to wear safety glasses or goggles. This guy is setting a poor example to others of the safety culture expected on the production floor. At our facility, this would be a reportable incident to our facilities management.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
  84. Dina

    I am proud to be an american because of our work ethics, our willingness to work harder than anyone I know in the world. God bless america.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  85. Mike

    The only news here is how out of touch cnn, other news organizations and the beltway is from the true American experience. Everyday senior managers across the company discuss the outsourcing of jobs overseas. HR's job is to keep up the BS that people are our most important asset. Truth is they are just another variable cost to be minimized. Until the out flow of jobs is reversed this trend of long commutes to find work will continue and the American economy continue to decline.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  86. Brandon

    His 19 year old son wasn't already mowing the grass? What do people teach their kids in Wisconsin?

    March 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  87. Alex

    Not to be insensitive, or a jerk, but many, many people commute hundreds or thousands of miles away work work on a daily or weekly basis. I live in DC and it's not uncommon for people to fly here from their hometowns, work their work week, and fly back home to their families on the weekend. Some people, like a poster below me, commute hours every day across multiple states.

    Yes, it's unfortunate that people have to do that, and it results in a serious change in their quality of life. But jobs don't center on the individual workers, and if you're not willing to go where your job (or a/any job for that matter) will take you, than you're out of luck.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  88. Jack

    So much for your savior's stimulus package.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  89. Chuck

    American Companies shouldn't be allowed to close plants that sustain entire communities just for a profit.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  90. Tom

    Why does the headline refer to him as a "guy"? I can't imagine that colloquialism being attached to a doctor, lawyer, or politician. Just another example of CNN attempting to be folksy. As with "mom" and "dad" instead of "mother" and "father" the word choice just sounds stupid and infantile.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  91. Sara O'Neil

    In the depression, when the granite quarry closed in my grandparent's home town, grandpa, and so many others "moved" (commuting was not an option) 1,000 miles away to find employment.

    Letters (the family did not own a telephone) and notes were the only way grandpa could communicate with his much loved, dearly missed wife and 6 children.

    With this CNN "long commute" feature, I also think of those in the military who, for more than an extended period of time, are stationed far far from home with rare and brief, intermittent visits with loved ones.

    The long commute, and its many variations, issue is very much, for many men and women, an historical precedent ....

    March 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  92. Dan

    The family is probably reading these comments – if so I have a suggestion. I know money is tight for you Kerl but perhaps the 3 guys bunking in the apartment can scrape together enough to get a cheap Netbook pc with a webcam – install Skype and get the cheapest dsl you can. Then you can have regularly scheduled video calls with your families. If you can do it financially it may make the distance easier to tolerate. Best of luck to you all.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  93. jphilly08

    welcome to the real america people, this is what happens to our country when we privatize corporate gains and socialize corporate losses, this is what happens when we let companies outsource our labor to 3rd world countries without slapping tarrifs on imports, it is a systematic transfer of wealth from the poorest americans to the wealthiest americans. it's been going on for decades. The ones perpetrating this theft of wealth are laughing because the rest of you are too stupid to understand what is going on. The wealthiest 1% who are in control have absolutely no allegence to america, when america collapses they will take themselves and their money abroad. Wake up people and start reading something other than CNN news

    March 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  94. Jorene Soto

    Is this really news? There are many fed gov't employees who do this same commute into the DC metro area, mainly b/c there are few affordable housing options for people who have a decent income. I've been doing this same commute for nearly 5 yrs. Come on, CNN, let's report some real news.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  95. John

    I don’t mean to diminish the plight of this family, but construction tradesmen have been living this life for years! If you can have a full time job for an extended period of time, relocating temporarily is not a bad option.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm |
  96. hghg

    All that travel, and yet he's still an uneducated, overpaid warehouse hack. Blame nobody but your union pal.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  97. Andy

    Poor guy. He's right - the moments he's missing are gone forever. Hard times when you have to choose between homelessness and parenting.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
  98. Andrew

    Poeple in the states don't know how lucky you are. You are no longer the land of the free but the land of the free time. Which gives everyone way to much time to think your misfortunes. Many people in this gloablized world have to make the sacrifice to be away from their families. If you don't want to be away you should have amde sacrifices earlier in life to ensure a good job, or sacrifice monetarey goods and take a lower paying job at home. All descisions have positives and negatives. Zero sympathy. Americans stop being so lazy and take some action instead of just complaining.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
  99. Aks

    My question is why do he need to commute. cant he move to texas. i mean Texas is way better than WI.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm |
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