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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast

Master Lock the Old Flame

CREATED Feb 14, 2012
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 It’s Valentine’s Day.

 Surely, many former lovers will find each other again on this day. If they’re smart, they’ll  approach it with one eye open.

 You know. You still have feelings and remember the good times, but you don’t fully trust your ex either. It was a bad breakup. Your heart was broken. It hurt. You don’t want ever to feel like that again.

Maybe it’s because I’m born and raised here, but I’m kind of feeling the same thing about Master Lock.

The once proud Milwaukee company has been in the news since President Obama mentioned it in his State of the Union Address in January. It will be the site of a POTUS visit Wednesday where the President will cheer for the return of 100 manufacturing jobs.


Don’t misread this. Regardless of our political persuasions, we all want jobs to come back to Milwaukee. I don’t care who claims, takes, or ultimately gets the credit. Governor Walker could say it's because he's business friendly. Mayor Tom Barrett and the President will say it's about what they're doing. 

Still, the gaping wound that Master Lock left in that neighborhood may have been sewn back together, but the scar is still quite visible. In 1999 the company decided to move 700 jobs to Mexico. I’m not debating the business sense of this or anything. I’m just stating a fact. 700 jobs gone from the Central City.

 700! Think about that in the context of today. We’re getting a visit from the leader of the free world because we’re adding a fraction of that number. That’s how desperate we are for good paying jobs now.

 The company didn’t ingratiate itself any further with Milwaukee when it lifted its corporate headquarters from the neighborhood in 2006.

 Look, I’m glad this old girlfriend of ours wants to start seeing each other again. It’s not like we expect it to instantly be like the old days. We’ve agreed to take it slow… maybe just kind of date for a while. No firm commitments, although in the back of our minds we both wonder what the future may hold.  

We’ll meet for coffee, maybe a movie. We’ve always kept in touch and sort of remained friends, but now she wants get more serious again. We’ll take it slow.

It is so good to see her. Everyone is happy. All our friends think we were a great couple back in the day. I think so too. The natural tendency is to ride the high of these feelings coming back, but, but, but, I’m taking a deep breath and going in with one eye open. Maybe we’ll live happily ever after.   

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