Manzullo, Schilling urge Sensata to keep Freeport plant open

Online Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — July 6, U.S. Reps. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., and Bobby Schilling, R-Ill., urged the CEO of Massachusetts-based Sensata Technologies to abandon plans to offshore production to Asia and instead keep the work and the jobs in Freeport, Ill.

In a letter sent July 6 to Sensata CEO Thomas Wroe Jr., Manzullo and Schilling expressed their concerns with Sensata’s plans to shut down its Freeport plant and move the production and jobs to China. Instead, Sensata should follow the lead of other multi-national corporations that are “reshoring” American jobs — bringing back production from overseas — to boost lead times, innovation and quality. Citizens of Freeport contacted both Manzullo and Schilling for help in appealing to Sensata to keep operations in Freeport.

Labor costs in China are soaring, and energy costs are driving up the cost of shipping products,” Manzullo and Schilling said in the letter. “We would ask that you strongly consider these factors as well as the important value of the highly skilled, highly productive workforce in the northern Illinois region that is second to none in the global economy.”

The letter points out executives at Google Inc. have decided to manufacture the company’s new Nexus Q home entertainment device in the United States instead of China, reportedly to speed up innovation time. According to a recent Boston Consulting survey of 106 U.S.-based manufacturing executives with sales greater than $1 billion, 37 percent were considering or planning to move production back to the United States from China.

Manzullo and Schilling added that Freeport has been a leader in innovative workforce development initiatives, such as the Work Keys program that assesses and trains workers to match the needs of area employers. The region is also supported by a superior transportation network led by United Parcel Services’ second-largest air cargo hub at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, as well as the Union Pacific Railroad Global III Intermodal Hub.

These are just some of the many reasons that we respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to move your Freeport operations,” the letter stated.

Posted July 6, 2012

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