This is a follow-up to icebergslim's excellent Diary in June regarding the outsourced employees of Bain Capital-owned Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Illinois. In that Diary, iceberglim detailed her husband's friend's employment situation, in which he was compelled to train Chinese workers who would be replacing him. She also wrote about the protests arranged by Sensata employees against Mitt Romney who continues to profit from the ventures of Bain Capital:
The Sensata Technologies plant, which has been on the forefront of producing state-of-the-art automotive sensors, was owned by Texas Instruments, and then by Honeywell, before being sold in 2010 to Sensata Technologies Holding, N.V, a firm based in the Netherlands but majority-owned by Bain Capital. Bain, the private equity firm that Mitt Romney helped to develop and that continues to make him a very rich man, has since consolidated ownership of Sensata.Thus far, despite increased local coverage of the plant closing, and even the efforts of two Illinois Republican House members, their protests have been met with deafening silence from the Bain juggernaut, although the company's CEO penned this touching reply to the Congressmen:
The workers at the plant wanted Romney to make a slight detour on his bus trip and take a look at the devastation being caused by Bain’s machinations at a plant where many of them have worked for more than thirty years.
"I appreciate your comments regarding understanding the competitive pressure facing companies in today's global marketplace and I assure you that we strive to balance our duty to our shareholders with our duty as corporate citizens, just as you strive to balance the interests of your local constituents with that which is best for our country," responded Wroe. "Closing the Freeport facility is the right strategy for our business in order to deliver value to our shareholders and to support our global customers."
Three days ago, 58 employees of the Sensata Technologies in Freeport Illinois sent Mitt Romney a signed letter, excerpted below.
We work at Sensata Technologies in Freeport, Illinois — a company owned by Bain Capital, which you started, ran, and still profit from.Tonight (July 16, 2012) at 6 pm the Freeport City Council is expected to vote on a resolution supporting the retention of Sensata jobs in the City of Freeport. According to various reports, approximately 170 employees are expected to lose their jobs so that Bain Capital's private vultures can squeeze some additional profits out of the company, which JP Morgan gleefully describes as a high quality growth play.
Our jobs are about to be outsourced to China. More than 150 of us will lose our jobs — and some of us have worked here for over 40 years. The worst indignity is that many of us are being asked to train the Chinese workers who are taking our jobs.
It’s not right that our good American jobs are being sent to China. It’s not right that you stand to get even richer off of our loss and pain.
We are not going down without a fight. We join together today to call on you to save our jobs.
The "high quality growth play" is one of Freeport's largest employers:
I’ve been there 19 years," says Jeffrey Lobdell, “We work hard, our workforce is made up of very good workers and to have them pick it up and say that they can make the same products cheaper and make more money is disturbing because we are profitable.”It's hard to imagine what it would be like to have to train the person who was taking your job and livelihood away from you. How would you feel about going to work in the morning knowing that?
* * *
Some workers are already planning their next step, like going back to school or starting their own business. Others, like Dot Turner, are worried about their future. Turner says she's worked hard for 43 years and she’s not looking forward to competing against her children and grandchildren for a job.
“In a community the size of Freeport, there aren't a whole lot of high paying professional jobs that I can look forward to, to make the same money as I do now,” says Turner.
The employees—who manufacture sensors that are sold to auto manufactures—were told in early 2011 that the plant would be closing in December 2012. They are currently training their Chinese replacements, who have been flown in by Bain to the Illinois plant. “This just adds insult to injury,” said Cheryl Randecker, a Sensata employee. “They’re going to be here three months and they’re not going to leave knowing everything they need to know.”No telling what happens to those workers who decline Bain's "request" to train their replacements.
Interestingly, Sensata manufactures sensors and controls for the American automobile industry, which Romney would have left to die in Bankruptcy. (Local news video here)
"Romney says he wants to save small town America, but yet a company he helped found is destroying a small town in America and he’s going to make money off of it. These workers and their families are being dropped on the street so Bain Capital and Romney can make a few more dollars.”If you don't like Mitt Romney's vision of "America The Beautiful," you can donate to President Obama's re-election campaign here.