Mitt Romney’s campaign has come under fire for a number of gaffes recently, but one action by the company he cofounded, Bain Capital, is following a long-standing Romney tactic. Mitt Romney has a long history of exporting jobs overseas, according to Forbes magazine (hardly a liberal bastion). Vanity Fair has revealed that, while with Bain Capital before 1999 (the earliest date Romney claims having left Bain), Romney did indeed make sizable profits from sending American jobs to China, jobs that are unlikely to return. Although Mr. Romney is no longer in direct control of Bain Capital, he still makes $440,000 a week from his investments in the company.
On the same day that Americans go to the polls to vote for either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama as President, Sensata will lay off the last workers at the plant in Freeport IL. Sensata is now owned by Bain Capital. Sensata is moving 165 jobs to China and closing down the plant in Freeport, after having required American workers to train their overseas replacements. Romney will share in any profits gained by these actions.
Workers in Freeport IL have responded to the imminent loss of their jobs by protesting at a site they call “Bainport.” The protesters are asking that Romney save their jobs by demanding that the plant remain open. An alternative demand is that Romney debate Obama in Freeport, which was the site of one of the famous Lincoln and Douglas debates. So far, there has been no response from the Romney campaign, with claims that they are unaware of the situation.
Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!” spoke with Dot Turner, who has worked at the company’s Freeport site since 1969. Turner described having been able to make a decent living at her job and having few if any prospects once the plant closes. Cheryl Randecker gave an account of being sent to China to train her replacements, who did not immediately seem to understand what was required to run the technical machinery. Workers at the plant believe that their jobs are being sent overseas simply to save money, with China providing the facilities for free, and workers paid at a much lower rate than their counterparts. Protesters first attempted to confront Mitt Romney at the RNC Convention, but were turned away.
Final layoffs from the plant closure are scheduled to take place on Election Day, with workers planning to vote, and immediately afterwards file for unemployment benefits.
Efforts to save the jobs in Freeport have included local Republican congressmen Don Manzullo, R-Ill., and Bobby Schilling, R-Ill writing to Sensata. The company response indicated that while the company sympathizes, they plan to shut down the plant just the same. Sensata employees have also heard from IL Governor Pat Quinn and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill who are pushing a bill that stops tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. The Bring Jobs Home Act is currently dead, thanks to a failure to get enough votes for cloture, a necessary move to get past a threatened GOP filibuster.
Meanwhile, the protesters of “Bainport” are gathering signatures on a petition asking Mitt Romney to address the situation.