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Even though Mitt Romney no longer has a managerial position with Bain, nor any control over it's decision making process, he still owns stock in Bain and earns dividends. Employees in Freeport, Illinois, of a company controlled by Bain Capital want Mitt Romney to show some action to back up his words on the campaign trail where he's claiming that we need to save jobs in America. Here's Mitt Romney's chance to act presidential and step in and help some people keep their jobs, by calling on his former partners to do the right thing and put people before profits.
Romney has played no part in Sensata Technologies Inc.'s decision to move its auto-sensor business to China. But he owns millions of dollars worth of Bain funds that hold a controlling stake in the Massachusetts-based company.To add insult to injury as it seems only Bain Capital can (see "Stage" ad below), these workers that are going to lose their jobs have to train their replacements first:
The plant's employees are calling on Romney to use his influence with former Bain colleagues to keep the plant open.
The workers signed a petition asking him to help, and the Freeport City Council passed a motion on Monday urging the candidate to step in to save the jobs.
"If he wanted to, all he needs to do is call up the management of Bain Capital and say, 'Look, don't do this,'" said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the factory for 33 years.
Despite rising profits, the company plans to institute the final layoffs in December. The workers are training their Chinese replacements, who have been flown to Illinois by the company.They don't even get a free trip overseas to train their replacements. Employees are speaking out about the prospect of losing their jobs:
“We’re grateful to the city council for standing with us in this fight to save our jobs,” said Cheryl Randecker, who has worked at the plant for 33 years. “It’s not just our jobs on the line, but also the future of our community. We hope Romney will join us in this fight, and make it clear that he stands with American workers — not companies like Bain that want to ship our jobs overseas.”
Regardless of the date that he left, Tom Gaulrapp -- a lifelong resident of Freeport and 33-year employee of Sensata -- said that Romney still bears some responsibility.With ads like this one having a over a million hits on the Internet, do you think Mitt Romney will use his connections to help save these jobs from being shipped to China?
"They used his business model," Gaulrapp said. "And the board of directors and most of the officers at Bain Capital were put in place by him. There's an ongoing debate over whether he actually left in 1999 or whether he filed wrong documents to the SEC. In either case, they're still using his business model. He's the one who taught them how to do this. These guys were put there by him. So you can say he doesn't run the day-to-day operations, but he's still at blame for the way they do business."
"He [Romney] is running for president," said the mayor. "These people felt it was a little hypocritical that he was with Bain Capital, he organized some of the processes, and now he's touring the country ... saying we need to keep jobs here in the United States. And yet for a long time, he made a lot of profits by tearing companies apart and sending them overseas."
A Romney spokesperson reiterated that the governor left Bain in 1999, and said he has no knowledge of the Freeport controversy.
On Screen: Marion, IndianaThe response to pleas to save these jobs from Sensata CEO Tom Wroe? Well, at least they didn't ask employees to build a stage.
Mike Earnest: Out of the blue one day, we were told to build a 30 foot stage. Gathered the guys, and we built that 30 foot stage, not knowing what it was for.
On Screen: Mitt Romney and Bain Capital purchased the paper plant.
Mike Earnest: Just days later, all three shifts were told to assemble in the warehouse.
On Screen: The company was profitable, with three shifts working.
Mike Earnest: A group of people walked out on that stage and told us the plant is now closed and all of you are fired. I looked both ways. I looked at the crowd and ah, we all just lost our jobs. We don't have an income.
On Screen: "there's little question he made a fortune from businesses he helped destroy." -- New York Post 2/19/11
Mike Earnest: Mitt Romney made over a 100 million dollars by shutting down our plant and devastated our lives. Turns out that when we built that stage it was like building my own coffin, and it just made me sick.
On Screen: If Mitt Romney wins, the middle class loses.
Announcer: Priorities USA Action is responsible for the content of this advertisement.
"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."And the response from the Romney campaign? With a response like this, it seems doubtful that Romney will be stepping in any time soon since he doesn't even know that these jobs are on the chopping block. Ignorance may be bliss, but it doesn't help win elections:
Romney does not know about Sensata's plan to transfer the business to China by the end of the year, his campaign said.Afterall, Romney is running for President for Pete's sake. He can't be bothered with trying to stop U.S. jobs from going to China this year. He's too busy on the campaign trail giving speeches about how he's going to create jobs in the United states. Can you say "tone deaf?"
"Gov. Romney is not familiar with this issue and has not been involved in the management of Bain since 1999," said Romney campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg.
The jobs at the Freeport plant have been on the chopping block for more than a year.
5:24 PM PT: On the Ed Show on MSNBC Right Now: Ed is interviewing employees from Sensata Technologies who are inviting Romney to their community to talk to the people who are about to lose their jobs. They would also like President Obama and Mitt Romney to come to their community to debate "Creating Wealth and Creating Jobs."
6:58 PM PT: I was hoping to add the interview from The Ed Show to this diary; however, MSNBC has posted several segments from tonight's show, and that segment wasn't one of them. I did find this preview of what was going to be on the show tonight, talking about this issue:
Workers at Bain-controlled Sestana in Freeport, IL are calling on Mitt Romney to save the 170 jobs that are at risk of being outsourced to China. See some of their testimonials here. Shelly Griswold, Director of Community Development for the city of Freeport, IL and Dot Turner, Worker at the Sensata Plant in Freeport, IL for 43 years, will join Ed to talk about what this could mean for the future of their community.Also one of the links lead to a video channel at YouTube with lots more videos.
7:55 PM PT: This story was also featured on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell tonight with an employee who has worked at Sensata Technologies for 33 years and is about to lose her job, the mayor, and a member of the city counsel, and this time the video was posted online: