Service Employees International Union president to visit ‘Bainport’ Oct. 29

Online Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — At 4 p.m., Monday, Oct. 29, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry will visit the “Bainport” encampment at Stephenson County Fairgrounds in Freeport, Ill., to rally with Sensata Technologies workers fighting to save their jobs from outsourcing to China by Bain. She will be joined by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was arrested last Wednesday, Oct. 24, with 13 others who attempted to meet with Sensata management.

Mary Kay Henry has always been an advocate for workers,” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at Sensata for 33 years. “And on Monday, she’ll be joining Sensata workers like me to take a stand against outsourcing by companies like Bain, which is chipping away at the American Dream for millions of workers and devastating communities like Freeport across the country.”

Sensata has emerged as a flashpoint in the controversy over Republican presidential candidate Mitt 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. The workers have previously welcomed former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, the Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and United Auto Workers President Bob King.

As Romney refuses to intervene, the workers are mobilizing to win a full severance with petitions and sit-ins at company headquarters. Employees who have been at the plant for 20, 30 and even 40-plus years are getting 26 weeks of pay as a severance from Bain-owned Sensata.

Oct. 24, the workers filed two unfair labor practices against the company for cracking down on protected concerted activity and threatening to close the plant early if workers continued to protest. At a subsequent march on the plant, 14 protesters were arrested, including Jackson and three workers. The workers also walked out of the plant in protest of the company’s threats Oct. 25.

Workers were told by management Oct. 26 that the plant would be shut down for the weekend of Oct. 27-28, marking the second weekend in a row the factory had stopped production.

Bain Capital-owned Sensata plans to close the Freeport plant in December and outsource the plant’s 170 jobs to China. Workers at the plant have been training their Chinese replacements, who have been flown to Illinois by the company.

Bainport is at Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 2250 S. Walnut Road, Freeport, Ill.

Click here for previous articles about Sensata.

Posted Oct. 29, 2012

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