Jesse Jackson among 14 arrested as Sensata workers, supporters march onto company property

Online Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — The Rev. Jesse Jackson was among 14 who were arrested in Freeport, Ill., Wednesday, Oct. 24, as supporters of workers facing outsourcing at the Freeport Sensata Technologies plant marched onto company property.

The march occurred around 4 p.m., Oct. 24.

Those arrested include Jackson, Bishop Tavis Grant, former Rockford Ald. Victory Bell, local community members, and three Sensata workers — Dot Turner, Bonnie Borman and Joanne Penniston.

Labor union representatives from Illinois were also arrested, including Brandon Cambell, Ted Denver and George Welitschimsky of the United Auto Workers; Mel Turner of the United Steelworkers; and Keith Kelleher of SEIU Healthcare Illinois. Nine supporters have been arrested in previous actions at the plant.

Sometimes you have to take a stand for what you believe in,” said Borman, who has worked at the plant for 23 years yet was arrested for wanting to meet with the plant’s manager.

Penniston, one of the Sensata workers arrested in the protest, added: “Today, I was proud to stand up against the outsourcing of American jobs. Together, we’ve sent a clear message to Bain — and to all companies that decide to cut and run on American workers: We’re not backing down.”

In an earlier release from the workers’ movement, about a dozen activists had pledged to “engage in civil disobedience” if they were unable to meet with the manager of the plant. Sensata officials had threatened protesters with arrest if they attempted to enter company property. They have also threatened to shut down the plant immediately if the protests continue to escalate.

The threats prompted workers to file unfair labor practice charges against Sensata Oct. 24. Click here for more about the unfair labor practice charges.

The Sensata workers and their supporters have been organizing to stop the outsourcing of 170 jobs to China by Bain Capital, which created Sensata Technologies in 2006, took the company public in 2010 and still maintains a controlling interest.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a co-founder and former CEO of Bain, stands to profit from the outsourcing of these jobs through the stock he still owns in the company, and his 2011 tax returns show that he got a major tax break by moving Sensata stock to a charity organization he controls.

Click here to read more about the movement.

Posted Oct. 24, 2012

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