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Sensata workers protest at Romney campaign event in Bettendorf, Iowa

August 22, 2012

Online Staff Report

Workers facing outsourcing by Bain Capital at the Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Ill., and supportive community members protested Aug. 22 outside presumptive Republican nominee for president Mitt Romney’s campaign event at a manufacturing facility in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Inside the event, workers raised a banner urging Romney, the former Bain CEO, to help save their jobs and asked him directly whether he would intervene to stop their jobs from being outsourced. Romney didn’t respond — making this the second time he has ignored questions about Sensata at campaign events.

The protest comes as debate over Romney’s record of outsourcing jobs to China and other countries while at Bain continues to plague the Romney campaign.

Romney is a co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm that created Sensata in 2006. According to SEC filings, Romney served as CEO of Bain Capital from its founding in 1984 until 2002. Romney has repeatedly said he left the company in 1999.

Over the past few months, Sensata workers have tried to reach Romney with a signed letter sent to the campaign and frequent protests outside the plant.

Sensata develops, manufactures and sells sensors and controls for major auto manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors.

Aug. 13, Romney’s campaign staff called the police on Sensata workers trying to deliver their letter at the campaign’s headquarters in Madison, Wis.

Meanwhile, public support for the workers’ campaign continues to grow. In July, the Freeport City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Romney to come meet the workers and use his influence at Bain to intervene on their behalf. Aug. 21, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., joined the workers to deliver a petition with more than 35,000 signatures to Bain’s offices in Evanston, Ill.

Massachusetts-based Sensata Technologies plans to close the Freeport plant, with final layoffs coming in November, and outsource 170 jobs to China. Sensata workers are training their Chinese replacements, who have been flown to Illinois by the company.

Today, Romney spoke about the power of one person to make a difference,” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the Freeport Sensata plant for 33 years. “And that’s exactly what we’re asking him to do. But the company he created and still profits from is outsourcing good, American jobs to China, and he hasn’t done anything to stop them. It’s time for Romney to stand with American workers — not companies like Bain that want to ship our jobs overseas.”

Posted Aug. 22, 2012

5 Comments

  1. Matthew

    August 22, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I was there. Romney did not hear what this man said. Nor could anyone else. He was yelling and was escorted outside. He was not ignored. Yelling while someone is speaking is not proper etiquette.

  2. Manny

    August 23, 2012 at 11:44 am

    If your job was getting shipped to China after working loyally for 33 years you’d be yelling too.

  3. west129

    August 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    “Sensata develops, manufactures and sells sensors and controls for major auto manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors.”

    GM has been outsourced and thousand of dealerships were closed by no other than Obama, the king of outsourcing. But nobody talks about that.

    It only makes sense to send the jobs over sea to so to be closer to GM.

    The problem is that 168 Sensata employers are not unionized and therefore, Obama is not interested in helping but is eager usinf them as pawns for his political games and for his gain. To blame Romney is absurd. How about blaming Honeywell that intended to take bankruptcy and fire all people?

  4. Dave Callahan

    August 25, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Tough call. If you could produce the same produce at a fraction of the cost, you would do it! It’s a world market for laborors. What can Americans do to be more competitive is the question?

  5. Dave Andreychuck

    August 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Bottom line is American laborers, unskilled laborers that is, can’t do much outside of accepting a job that would pay at or below the minimum wage. Are these same workers also to abandon hope of owning their own homes? Are their children to accept their fate early on and forget about college-that is only for those who can afford it-so that they can one day work for a bare minimum and live in substandard housing?

    This is China…this is India…this is any third world country where large American corporations are shipping jobs. These men and women who take on call center, manufacturing, and other jobs are no more qualified to take the jobs than Americans are. The only difference is that their labor can be had for a song…their labor will work and live in substandard circumstances. Their labor has accepted, either through a caste system or some other form of discrimination that their lives will not improve-their is NO DREAM TO BE HAD.

    It angers me to see these corporations given tax break after tax break. It angers me to see Romney act like he was just doing business as usual. I could go on and on…but clearly I’ve stated my favor for the workers at Sensata–I hope their is a light at the end of the tunnel. If their isn’t though, don’t blame yourselves–blame the greedy hands that run your corporation.

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