Sensata workers protest at Romney campaign event in Bettendorf, Iowa

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

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