Three arrested for blocking equipment removal at Freeport Sensata plant

Three community members were arrested Oct. 8 for blocking the removal of equipment from the Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Ill. The equipment is being removed as Bain-owned Sensata shuts down operations at the plant, outsourcing 170 jobs to China. (Photo courtesy of

Online Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — With Election Day on the horizon, Bain-owned Sensata is moving out equipment as it shuts down operations at its plant in Freeport, Ill., to ship 170 jobs overseas.

Workers and community members blocked the loading dock for a second time Oct. 8 to prevent equipment from being removed from the plant. Three community members — including the daughter of a Sensata worker — were arrested when they refused to move after the company called the police.

The three community members — Debi Kemple, Karri Penniston and Jerry Ontjes — have since been released.

Sensata emerged as a flashpoint in the controversy over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s ties to Bain this summer, with the company’s employees pleading publicly with Romney to help save their jobs from being outsourced to China. Not only does Romney stand to profit from the outsourcing of these jobs to China through the stock he still owns in the company, his 2011 tax returns show that he got a huge tax break by moving Sensata stock to a charity organization he controls — and that he continues to profit from Bain’s offshore holdings and tax avoidance strategies.

I was proud to take a stand for American jobs and for my mom,” said Penniston, who was arrested Oct. 8. “Our family depends on my mom’s job at Sensata to make ends meet — and our country depends on jobs like these for a strong middle class.”

Sensata Technologies, owned by Bain Capital, plans to close the Freeport plant by the end of the year and outsource 170 jobs to China. Many Sensata workers have already received layoff notices and have been training their Chinese replacements.

Posted Oct. 8, 2012

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