Sensata workers vow to stay at ‘Bainport’ until they win full severance

Online Staff Report

FREEPORT, Ill. — Workers facing outsourcing at the Bain Capital-owned Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Ill., vowed to stay at the “Bainport” encampment at Stephenson County Fairgrounds in the face of potential “eviction.”

The announcement was made Saturday, Nov. 3, with a community meeting, potluck and dinner. Stephenson County Fairgrounds is at 2250 S. Walnut Road, Freeport, Ill.

The Sensata workers are in the midst of a battle to win a full severance. Workers 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, even after training their Chinese replacements.

Despite threats by Sensata and some politicians to slow down the recent protests by evicting the workers and their supporters from their camp on the county fairgrounds across the street from Sensata’s Plant 4, they say they’re not going anywhere until they win their fight for a full severance.

If the workers received a full year’s pay as severance, the estimated wages of about $7.7 million would stay in Freeport for another year, which would mean a lot for small businesses, the local tax base and the town’s economy.

Sensata Technologies has already made more than $106 million in profit during the first three quarters this year, and will make even more when they can pay their Chinese workers 99 cents an hour. The workers argue the Bain-owned company can afford to pay the full severance.

Sensata has emerged as a flashpoint in the controversy over Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s ties to China this fall. Sensata workers have pleaded publicly with Romney to help save their jobs from being outsourced to China. Not only does Romney stand to profit from the outsourcing of the jobs through the stock he still owns in the company, his 2011 tax returns show he got a huge tax break by moving Sensata stock to a charity organization he controls.

According to SEC filings, Romney served as CEO of the private equity investment firm Bain Capital from its founding in 1984 until 2002. Romney, however, has repeatedly said he left the company in 1999.

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.

Created by Bain in 2006, Sensata develops, manufactures, and sells sensors and controls for major auto manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors.

Click here for previous articles about Sensata.

Posted Nov. 5, 2012

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