Online Staff Report
FREEPORT, Ill. — French Samsonite workers who were laid off and robbed of their severance pay by Bain Capital will join Freeport Sensata workers for a rally at “Bainport” in Freeport, Ill., at 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13.
The rally is in protest of Bain’s decision to close the Freeport, Ill., Sensata Technologies plant and outsource 170 jobs to China. The plant is set to close in November.
“We’re coming to Bainport to show our support for American workers fighting against the same economic model that destroys good jobs likes ours in France,” said Samsonite worker Brigitte Petit. “The struggle to save these Sensata jobs from outsourcing is a struggle on behalf of good jobs across the globe.”
Sensata Technologies, 2520 S. Walnut Road, Freeport, which was created by Bain Capital in 2006, develops, manufactures, and sells sensors and controls for major auto manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors.
Despite rising profits, the company plans to institute the final layoffs in November. The workers are training their Chinese replacements, who have been flown to Illinois by the company.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a co-founder of Bain Capital, the private equity investment firm that created Sensata. According to SEC filings, Romney served as CEO of Bain Capital from its founding in 1984 until 2002. Romney, however, has repeatedly said he left the company in 1999.
Each weekend brings new supporters to Bainport, the workers’ encampment at Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 S. Walnut Road, Freeport.
Oct. 6, Sensata workers welcomed civil rights leader and former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond to Bainport for a rally. Bond offered the workers a message of hope and perseverance.
Sensata has emerged as a flashpoint in the controversy over Romney’s ties to Bain in the lead up to Election Day, with the company’s employees pleading publicly with Romney to help save their jobs from being outsourced to China.
In September, the workers began to camp outside the plant to protest Bain’s decision to ship their jobs to China and increase the pressure on Romney — who still profits directly from Sensata — to help save their jobs. They plan to stay at the encampment until Romney agrees to help save their jobs, or, as stated in a release from the group, “until middle-class voters nationwide understand the dangers of a Romney economy for our country.”
Over the past few months, Sensata workers have tried to contact Romney with a 35,000-signature petition, frequent protests outside the plant and trips to nearby campaign offices.
In July, the Freeport City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on Romney to meet the workers and use his influence at Bain to intervene on their behalf. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) echoed their call during a trip to Freeport later that month. The situation has even become an issue in the congressional race in Illinois’ 17th district.
Workers took their campaign directly to Romney at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Aug. 27-30.
Posted Oct. 12, 2012