Workers from a Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Ill. who will lose their jobs by the end of the year were in Attleboro Wednesday morning to confront company CEO Thomas Wroe Jr. They did not get to meet with Wroe, but were able to hand a petition to the company vice president that calls for better severance packages.
The employees say their jobs are going to China. Dorothy "Dot" Turner, who submitted the petition, said she has worked at the Illinois plant for 43 years and will receive six month's pay after she loses her job next month. She called this "scandalous."
"It is just so un-American to take our jobs and move them out of the country and then not be willing to compensate us and give us a cushion big enough for us to try and start over again," she said during a speech to supporters outside the Sensata parking lot. "They are so un-American. This is not what this country stands for."
Sensata acquired the plant in January 2011 when it completed the purchase of Honeywell's automotive sensor business. Sensata spokeswoman Linda Megathlin wrote in an email to Attleboro Patch that the company was honest with the nearly 200 employees from the beginning about the plan to move manufacturing to China, which she wrote would be closer to where 75 percent of its revenue originates. The severance packages of 26 weeks are the same that Honeywell would have offered, she wrote.
"We know this is very difficult for employees in Freeport and it's one of the reasons we informed them of the plans so far in advance—two years before the plant was slated to close," she wrote.
Many of the workers and protestors who joined them (about 30 in total) carried anti-Mitt Romney signs. Romney co-founded Bain Capital, which purchased Sensata from Texas Instruments in 2006 when it was called Sensor & Controls. However, Romney had left the firm more than four years before the Sensata purchase.
The protestors traveled in a bus that featured the statement "Stop the Romney Economy" on the side. A press release from MassUnitingationwide Bain Worker Bus Tour that has traveled to states affected by what workers call the 'Romney-Bain Economy'—an economic model that ships good, family-supporting jobs overseas and slashes wages, hours and benefits for the few positions that remain."
Freeport plant worker Mary Jo Kerr, who will lose her job by the end of the year, said, "We really hope and pray that Romney does not become president because this right here what you see right now is exactly what's going to happen. It's going to be a ripple effect in the whole United States. There's going to be nothing left."
Kerr has appeared in various interviews and videos that can be found on the Internet in which she speaks against Bain and Romney. One video is titled "I Kinda Liked Mitt Romney, Until I Lost My Job."
Sensata became a publicly traded company in 2010. About 51 percent of the stock is owned by Bain, Megathlin told Patch.