Why Isn’t Mitt Romney Getting Hammered on the Bain-Sensata Story?

I know everyone here has probably heard about the Bain-owned company Sensata Technologies, which is currently in the process of shipping all of its jobs to China. Mitt Romney has significant financial holdings in Sensata and in other Bain-connected Chinese Companies. Sensata workers have reached out to Mitt Romney repeatedly, begging him to use his influence to save their jobs, but he has ignored their pleas. Workers have now set up a tent city they call Bainport (see photo), and today they held a rally with workers who were laid off by a Bain-owned Samsonite plant in France. Here is the Bainport website.

FREEPORT, Ill. — French Samsonite workers who were laid off and robbed of their severance pay by Bain Capital will join Freeport Sensata workers for a rally at “Bainport” in Freeport, Ill., at 3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13.

The rally is in protest of Bain’s decision to close the Freeport, Ill., Sensata Technologies plant and outsource 170 jobs to China. The plant is set to close in November.

“We’re coming to Bainport to show our support for American workers fighting against the same economic model that destroys good jobs likes ours in France,” said Samsonite worker Brigitte Petit. “The struggle to save these Sensata jobs from outsourcing is a struggle on behalf of good jobs across the globe.”

Sensata Technologies, 2520 S. Walnut Road, Freeport, which was created by Bain Capital in 2006, develops, manufactures, and sells sensors and controls for major auto manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors.
Despite rising profits, the company plans to institute the final layoffs in November. The workers are training their Chinese replacements, who have been flown to Illinois by the company.

During the retraining, the American flag flying over the Freeport, IL plant was removed and replaced by the Chinese flag.

Romney has significant investments in Sensata as well as in other corporations in China; and he has gotten tax breaks from outsourcing  jobs to China–including the Sensata jobs. Yet, during his debate with President Obama on October 3, Romney had the nerve to claim he didn’t know the U.S. gives tax breaks to outsourcers.

I simply can’t understand why the Obama campaign isn’t using this scandal to hammer Romney unmercifully. There has been some coverage of the issue in the corporate media, but not enough to reach all those low information voters out there. Ed Shultz has been talking about the issue over the past couple of days, and perhaps that will have an effect.

Although Romney didn’t make the decisions that led to the crisis in Freeport, he is still closely tied to Bain and does have influence over the company he founded. From the NYT, July 18, 2012:

There’s a plant in Freeport that makes sensors and controls for cars and airplanes. It’s owned by Sensata Technologies, a company that Bain bought in 2006, somewhere between four and seven years after Mr. Romney left the company. Last year, Sensata announced that it was moving the plant to China at the end of 2012 and laying off all 170 workers, and now those workers are asking Mr. Romney to intervene with his colleagues to save their 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,’ ” one worker, Tom Gaulrapp, told Reuters.

Mr. Romney had nothing to do with that decision…. Nonetheless, Mr. Romney remains deeply tied to business decisions like this. As Bain’s founder, he established its business model, which is to wring the maximum efficiency from a company for the benefit of Bain’s investors, even if that means closing plants, shipping jobs to China, and laying off American workers. That’s how private equity often works, and Bain has done it many times before, sometimes to the benefit of a company’s workers, and sometimes to their detriment.

If Romney is elected president, I expect we’ll see a lot more of these kinds of stories. Jesse Jackson wrote an op-ed about Sensata and the Romney economic model a couple of days ago: A taste of the Mitt Romney economy

Mrs. Dot Turner has worked at what is now Sensata Technologies in Freeport, Ill., for 43 years. The company does sophisticated work creating sensors for automobiles. It enjoyed record profits last year. But not enough for its owner — Bain Capital — which is moving the jobs and the machinery to China….

The Sensata workers called on Mitt Romney — an investor in Sensata through his Bain holdings — to intervene. A group went to Iowa during the primaries to ask him to come to Freeport; they met with no success. Another group went to the Republican convention to ask him to come to Freeport; they had no success, either.

So, with the open support of Freeport’s mayor and City Council, the workers set up a “Bainport” encampment in the Stephenson County Fairgrounds right across the street from the plant. “Welcome to Bainport, a taste of the Romney economy,” reads one sign. “Romney does have a jobs plan; too bad it’s for China,” reads another. And Mrs. Turner and others began to make their voices heard.

“We are suffering from the Bain model of capitalism,” Mrs. Turner said. “This is the way Bain works. They take over good companies, and then ship their jobs to China to make even more money.

“So when I hear Romney talking about creating jobs, he’s saying one thing and we are experiencing another. He’s creating jobs, but the jobs are in China, not here. And now under Bain, Sensata plans to give the managers and the supervisors their golden parachutes, but not the workers. I’ve been here 43 years, and they offer a lump sum payment for 26 weeks of salary. And the lump sum means taxes will take a big part of it.” Probably a bigger part than Romney pays in taxes on his income.

“We’re getting the shaft all the way,” Mrs. Turner continued. “And we’re not going to take it quietly. We can fight for our jobs. We may not win, but we are in their face. You may roll over me, but I’m not going to shut my mouth while you do it.”

The United Steelworkers Union has just released a video about what is happening in Freeport.

A few more resources on the Bain-Sensata story:

Democracy Now covered the story last Wednesday: As Bain Ships Jobs to China, Bainport Protesters Arrested for Blocking Illinois Factory’s Closure

Campaign for America’s Future: Is This Why Romney Won’t Talk To Sensata Workers Whose Jobs Are Being Shipped To China?

Crooks and Liars: ‘When I Hear Mitt Romney Speak it Makes Me Sick to My Stomach’

NY Daily News: Romney’s ‘Bain’ in the Neck

Please spread the word about this in any way you can. I’ll have another post on Romney’s China connections soon. Use the comments to discuss this story or anything else related to the 2012 election campaign. Thank you for reading this post!

52 Comments on “Why Isn’t Mitt Romney Getting Hammered on the Bain-Sensata Story?”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Hey, I’m going to read this but first I want to share this here because it’s about Romney and the LDS church, BB.

    Daughter of LDS Bishop Warns Against Mormonism and Romney Presidency


    This is another thing we still should be talking about but people are tip toeing around because it involves “religion”.

    • bostonboomer says:


    • RalphB says:

      Spooky. Can you imagine the outcry if anyone brought that into the mainstream?

    • NW Luna says:

      “To me, as a conservative, a Republican and a Christian, I cannot justify a vote for either one of the Obamney baby-killing, annihilators of the family, government healthcare mandated to take over our economy socialist evil twins – and be right with our Creator,” she wrote.

      The author sounds cuckoo, so I am not going to take her too seriously, even though Mormonism is weird.

      • dakinikat says:

        I don’t think she’s any kind of authority on much but she does know the insides of stuff the Mormons want to keep secret.

      • bostonboomer says:

        What she says about the secret oaths is true. I read a book by another ex-Mormon who went through all the ceremonies. He wasn’t a kook either–was a college prof.

  2. dakinikat says:

    This is a prime example of the Romney ability to say one thing and profit from and do the complete opposite. The man has no morals.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Oh, and forcing these workers to train their replacements in China is just unbelievable.

  4. NW Luna says:

    The Chinese flag going up in place of the US flag, and a headline “Romney’s Jobs Plan” — that would be perfect for an Obama ad.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I know. Obama should run an ad on it this weekend and then hit Romney with it during the debate.

      • Beata says:

        It’s outrageous. If Obama doesn’t hit Romney hard with this story during the next debate, I’m going to throw something at my TV. It’s time for Obama to come out fighting. He was asleep during the first debate and Biden wasn’t nearly as agressive as he could have been against the Ayn Rand-worshipping granny-starver, imo.

        ” This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around… ”

    • janey says:

      By the time they announce that a company is moving its jobs to China, it is way to late for them to be made to change their minds. It has already been negotiated and a deal signed. Then they tell us about it. I think we should have a law making it totally illegal.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    New Rolling Stone article on Romney’s tax dodges.


  6. dakinikat says:

    New York Times:

    “[Romney] owns about $8 million worth of Bain funds that hold 51 percent of Sensata’s shares. If Sensata saves money by closing the Freeport plant, that could add money to Mr. Romney’s trust accounts, now or after the election.”


  7. dakinikat says:

    Romney and Bain bought Ampad for $5M. 3 yrs later, company was paying $60M/yr in debt payments, $7M in management fees


  8. ecocatwoman says:

    This is the same thing Bain did to Dade Behring in Miami where my friend Cindy Hewitt worked. They closed the plant in Puerto Rico and had those employees move to Miami, with the promise the Miami plant wouldn’t be closed. Then they announced the closure & forced the workers to train their replacements or lose reimbursement for their move. http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/04/2984203/op-ed-ex-employee-at-company-bain.html

    • bostonboomer says:

      They’ve done it to many companies, but the important thing about this case is that it’s happening now and Romney is profiting handsomely from it.

      • dakinikat says:

        9 Things That Show Mitt Romney Is Morally Bankrupt

        It’s not that hard to be good to your family and friends. If true morality is evidenced by how one treats strangers, Romney’s reputation as a moral actor should be under water.

        This is quite a list.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Wow, it sure is. Thanks!

      • janey says:

        I don’t like the fact that they put military members in the list of people who do not pay income tax. In the military you do pay income tax. You may have too low an income to owe taxes or are stationed in a war zone, fighting actively so are exempt, but all other military members pay income tax. Growing up in the military, I knew so many civilians hated military because they think we pay no income taxes, property taxes, or even sales tax. We do, one way or another.

  9. RalphB says:

    Man At Romney Rally Wears Mindblowingly Offensive Shirt


    This seems to be the major thing buzzfeed is good for, pointing out honest racists.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    NYT finally publishes a story on how little time Romney spent in MA as governor!

    BOSTON — When the ceiling collapsed in the Big Dig tunnel here, Gov. Mitt Romney was at his vacation home in New Hampshire. When the Bush administration warned that the nation was at high risk of a terror attack in December 2003, he was at his Utah retreat. And for much of the time the legislature was negotiating changes to his landmark health care bill, he was on the road.

    During Mr. Romney’s four-year term as governor of Massachusetts, he cumulatively spent more than a year — part or all of 417 days — out of the state, according to a review of his schedule and other records. More than 70 percent of that time was spent on personal or political trips unrelated to his job, a New York Times analysis found.

    Mr. Romney, now the Republican presidential nominee, took lengthy vacations and weekend getaways. But much of his travel was to lay the groundwork for the presidential ambitions he would pursue in the 2008 election, two years after leaving office.

    • bostonboomer says:

      As his term progressed, the press corps took note of the governor’s travels — and the ill will they generated. The Herald reported that an anonymous group distributed pictures of Mr. Romney on the back of a milk carton, with the caption “Have You Seen Me?” One headline from The Herald was blunt: “Mitt’s Mass Denial.” A Globe analysis of the costs of his travel — Mr. Romney took no salary and paid for his personal and political trips, but the state paid for his security detail — found that taxpayers had paid more than $100,000 in the 2006 fiscal year and $63,874 the year before.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The legislature also finally came to its own deal on a version of Mr. Romney’s proposed overhaul of the state’s health care system. The final version passed by the legislature included provisions that the governor had vetoed, including a $295-per-worker fee for employers that did not provide insurance. The governor was traveling in April when the House overrode his vetoes.

        • dakinikat says:

          Sounds like Bobby Jindal. Every one is trying to deal with his nightmare voucher program which has no accountability for private schools getting state money and he’s out on the campaign trail.

        • dakinikat says:

          Check this out … no wonder Arkansas has such crazies making crazy laws:
          Al Jazeera English ‏@AJEnglish
          Education gets short shrift – 25% of Arkansas lawmakers have no college experience compared w/ 8.7% nationally http://aje.me/RqLbna

      • bostonboomer says:

        Wow. And to think they once had Bill Clinton as governor! I think Jindal must be deliberately following the Romney blueprint, except he didn’t have to pretend to be a moderate like Romney did.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    The Agonist mocks “serial fabulist” Ed Klein’s fantasy that Obama is throwing Hillary under the bus.


    If Bill is so worried about this, why is he stumping for Obama in Ohio all weekend?

  12. RalphB says:

    Damn, not again!

    wonkette: Meet Your New Diebold!

    It is time to meet your new Diebold machines, from H.I.G., a company of fine fellows who to the man have donated to Mitt Romney, and a full third of whose board of directors come from Bain? Oh yeah, them.

    From The Daily Dolt:
    Hart InterCivic is a national provider of election voting systems that are used in swing-states Ohio and Colorado, as well as in states we don’t really care about so much because we already know how they’ll turn out (e.g., Texas, Oklahoma, and Hawaii). Private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, LLC bought out a “significant” portion of Hart in July of 2011, and now the majority of Hart’s board directors are employees of H.I.G. (It’s not entirely clear how much of the voting machine company H.I.G. owns, but the financial advisors responsible for the transaction state that “Hart Intercivic was acquired by HIG Capital.”)

    The Daily Dolt goes on to provide helpful links to all H.I.G.’s board of directors, helpfully pointing out which are former Bain employees and which are current Romney bundlers. (All of them, Katie.) So we’re not saying H.I.G. is going to steal Colorado for good old Miffed Romney. We’re just saying what the fuck was wrong with paper ballots?

  13. ANonOMouse says:

    Just read at Huffpost that Romney is doing an AD blitz, down the stretch. They had a couple of examples of the Ads and I’m certain he’ll blanket the swing states over the next 3 weeks. Pity you swing staters who will be subjected to watching or listening to Romney/Ryan BS 24/7.

  14. This country is systematically being destroyed while a select few get internationally wealthy