Online Staff Report
FREEPORT, Ill. — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will visit “Bainport” in Freeport, Ill., at 9:45 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Bainport is an encampment set up at Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 S. Walnut Road, Freeport, by workers facing outsourcing at the Bain Capital-owned Sensata Technologies plant.
Created in 2006, Sensata develops, manufactures, and sells sensors and controls for major auto manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors.
Workers at the plant have been training their Chinese replacements, who have been flown to Illinois by the company. The final layoffs are expected to be made in November. The plant employs 170.
Workers began to camp outside the plant to protest Bain’s decision to ship their jobs to China and increase the pressure on Republican presidential candidate and former Bain co-founder/CEO Mitt Romney — who still profits directly from Sensata — to help save their jobs. The workers 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.”
The workers have previously welcomed former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond and Bain workers from France to their encampment. The Rev. Al Sharpton is planning to visit the plant Saturday, Oct. 20.
“It’s time to draw a line in the sand on the outsourcing of good, American jobs,” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the plant for 33 years. “And with the support of advocates for the middle class like Sen. Durbin, that’s exactly what we’re going to do at Bainport.”
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.
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. 15, 2012