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Bain Capital Workers Face Down Mitt Romney Over the Outsourcing of Their Jobs

After repeatedly touting his business experience as an asset towards reviving the U.S. economy, Romney has been put on the defensive by Bain workers who are fighting back against the outsourcing of their jobs.
 
 
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After repeatedly touting his business experience as an asset towards reviving the U.S. economy, Mitt Romney has been put on the defensive by Bain Capital workers who are fighting back against the outsourcing of their jobs. One hundred seventy workers at a Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Illinois — of which Bain is the majority owner — are calling on Romney to help save their jobs from being shipped to China. The factory manufactures sensors and controls that are used in aircraft and automobiles, but has been dismantling and shipping the plant to China piece by piece — even as it requires the workers to train personally their Chinese replacements, who have been flown in by management. We’re joined by two workers from the Sensata plant in Freeport, Illinois: Tom Gaulrapp and Cheryl Randecker. Both worked at Sensata for 33 years and were told their jobs would be terminated by the year’s end.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, "Breaking With Convention: War, Peace and the Presidency," as we cover the Republican National Convention here in Tampa, inside and out, as we will do in Charlotte next week, as well, covering the Democrats.

Well, as the Republican National Convention gets a late start due to Tropical Storm Isaac, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is facing another type of storm, one involving his tenure at the helm of private equity firm Bain Capital. After repeatedly touting his business experience as an asset towards reviving the U.S. economy, the former Massachusetts governor has been put on the defensive by Bain workers who are fighting back against the outsourcing of their jobs.

One hundred seventy workers at a Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Illinois, of which Bain is the majority owner, are calling on Romney to help save their jobs from being shipped to China. The plant manufactures sensors and controls that are used in aircraft and automobiles, but has been dismantling and shipping the plant to China piece by piece, even as it requires the workers to train personally their Chinese replacements, who have been flown in by management. The workers in Illinois say their petition of 35,000 signatures, as well as their multiple visits to Romney’s headquarters, have fallen on deaf ears, so they’re taking their plea straight to Romney here at that Republican National Convention.

Two of them are joining us now in our Tampa studio here at WEDU, PBS TV in Tampa. Tom Gaulrapp is with us, and Cheryl Randecker. Both worked at Sensata for 33 years, were told their jobs would be terminated by year’s end. Tom and Cheryl, welcome to Democracy Now!

TOM GAULRAPP: Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Tom, let’s start with you. Tell us what’s happened.

TOM GAULRAPP: Well, when they took over the plant, they told us—

AMY GOODMAN: Who’s they?

TOM GAULRAPP: Sensata Technologies. When they took over the plant—

AMY GOODMAN: Who was it owned by before?

TOM GAULRAPP: It was owned by Honeywell, and they sold the automotive business to Sensata Technologies. And they brought us into a meeting, and they said all the jobs are being moved to China by the end of 2012. And they have—since that happened, they have slowly started to move this equipment out. And these areas which were full of equipment and full of people working very hard on this highly technical equipment is now empty space, where the only indication there was ever anything there is the discoloration of the floor.

AMY GOODMAN: Wait. Cheryl, how did you find out who even bought your plant? It was owned by Honeywell. You’re making these sensors for General Motors, for GM. And then what happened?

CHERYL RANDECKER: We actually found out—we all went home and looked up Sensata, and we found out in this summer that it was owned by Bain. And then we found the connection between Bain and Governor Romney. And that just spurred a little bit of emotion that we wanted to stand up and fight back and take—take a stand for the American people and for our jobs.

 
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