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Laid-Off Workers Protest Romney, Bain in Attleboro

The employees from Sensata, which was purchased by Bain Capital in 2006, say their jobs are going to China. They carry signs in opposition to Mitt Romney, who co-founded Bain, but severed most ties with the firm in 2002.

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. 

Emcee of Seekonk October 17, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Sad to say, but these people are from 'Lord knows where', paid a day's wage, plus meals and lodging, and bussed to wherever they are needed. They are probably in Massachusetts because the Dems fear losing seats in the HR and Senate. Otherwise, why the anti-Romney signs... he's been out of Bain for ten years.
Just sayin' October 17, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Hmm... Anyone notice the misspelling on the sign being held by one of the protesters? The white one with blue letters. Guess there isn't spell check on poster board.
Karen O'Connell October 17, 2012 at 08:16 PM
That's like blaming Jimmy Carter for the high gas prices today! I agree with Adam Edward, Emcee of Seekonk and Just sayin'.
Wendy Wagner October 17, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Sensata doesn't have unions. It's a non-union shop.
Amy October 17, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Wendy, I'm not sure if Acorn is non union.
Emcee of Seekonk October 17, 2012 at 08:41 PM
If it's a non-union shop, then it must be a Dem PAC footing the bill. Those guys have got money to burn... I hope it isn't our money recycled.
Wendy Wagner October 17, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I'm sure it's whatever you want it to be, Emcee.
Darren Major October 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM
ACORN doesn' exist any more you idiot!
Darren Major October 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Still in the fake reality bubble, you really are a pitiful man
Darren Major October 17, 2012 at 11:46 PM
No dummy - Sensata HQ is here in Attleboro with the CEO - thats why the protest is here - my god how stupid are you FOX watchers? I hope you are just pretending to be the fool you portray on this forum or I am sure you might forget to breathe
Janet Sroczynski October 18, 2012 at 12:08 AM
If you say that your jobs are going to China, then you must be paying to support Obama's pension. Or you are paying to walk the dog Bo, that alone cost taxpayers a $6-figure salary. Expensive dog walking in Washington. Next time around, cheaper if you have a house cat. Here Kitty Kitty Kitty.
Jonathan Friedman (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 12:10 PM
I have added information to this story, including comments from the Sensata spokeswoman.
Emcee of Seekonk October 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM
@Wendy... From what we understand from the article, a group a people are here from Illinois to hand a complaint to a Mr. Wroe for not awarding his workers adequate severance pay. An employee of 43 years will receive only a half year pay. So they came to Massachusetts to see Mr. Wroe about the severance pay and their jobs going to China and they just happened to have Anti-Romney signs in the bus... so why not use them. Now, touring around in a bus costs money for food and lodging at the minimum, then there's the biggest expense of all, gasoline at near $4 a gallon in a bus that might be getting under 10 miles per gallon. Are these workers who are about to lose their jobs paying for this escapade? Or one of the Dem PAC's?
Emcee of Seekonk October 18, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Jonathan F. has added that "Sensata acquired the plant in 2011....(and the) company was honest with the nearly 200 employees from the beginning about the plan to move manufacturing to China, .... And the severance packages of 26 weeks are the same that Honeywell would have offered." So now, the employees are in Massachusetts waving anti-Romney signs. There are a lot of folks who worked all their lives in non-union shops in Attleboro who would have liked to see 26 week severance pays. But, thats neither here nor there.
Janet Sroczynski October 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Mitt Romney's comments during the recent debate regarding the 15% tax rate on companies in Canada. Article as follow up on: http://www.Ottawacitizen.com/business/fp/Romney+right+that+Canada+better+than+business/7404852/story.html Ottawa Citizen article by John Shmuel; Financial Post on October 17,2012; Business. Article entitled: "Is Romney Right About Canada Being Better Than the U.S. to do Business?"
Wendy Wagner October 18, 2012 at 01:49 PM
What are anti-Romney signs going to do in Massachusetts? Everyone knows that the state of which Romney was governor is not going to vote for him as President. They have anti-Romney signs because he still has a financial interest in Bain and he could have intervened. Politically, it made sense for the workers to appeal to Romney to save their jobs; after all, he is in the middle of a campaign where outsourcing is a big deal, and he has the kind of influence that could have made a difference. That he refused to intervene or even meet with the workers has understandably angered them. I think it's kind of pathetic that Romney would "offer" Jeremy Epstein a job at the Hofstra debate, and he will pay for some kids' college tuition (probably only because they are Mormons), but he won't intervene to try to figure out how to save jobs in a community and keep them from being outsourced.
Michael Davis October 18, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Wagner, how could Romney have intervened? He is not king of Sensata. He gets a pension of some sort from Bain, which has a 50 percent stake in Sensata. This means he gets to decide what move is made with a factory in Illinois? One of the women at this event has been in paid ads for Obama. This was obviously an Obama campaign stop in attempt to get media attention (they appear to have failed outside the local press) disguised as workers crying about losing their jobs. My wife got laid off last year from her job. She didn't get a six-month severance. She got her final paycheck and advice on how to get unemployment. Also, these employees say they are losing their jobs at the end of the year, not that they've lost them yet. So why weren't they at work yesterday? It was a weekday. Or maybe they don't have to work because they're already getting a check from the Obama campaign or one of the groups supporting Obama.
paul October 18, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Many automotive jobs went to Canada. Magna Powertrain, Linamar, Corvex, Hastech,Vehcom all find Canada to be better than the U.S. to do business. 4yrs ago many of those jobs were in Toledo, Flint, Pontiac, Bay City, Ypsilanti, Warren, Tillsonburg & Tonawanda they are gone and our government + the UAW union are to blame.
Emcee of Seekonk October 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM
@Wendy: ... "... (probably only because they are Mormons)..." Who is the 'they'? I scanned the Hofstra site and saw no mention of the Church of LDS. Usually private schools mention their religious affiliation in their mission statement. The Romneys are generous in their gifts to charity. However, they can't solve all the problems in the world. Sensata was upfront with the employees they gained when they took over Honeywell. Those folks had nearly two years to find other jobs. Why didn't Obama see to it that they had new jobs to go to. He could have with his influence and all.
Wendy Wagner October 18, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I'm talking about the family mentioned by Paul Ryan at the VP debate.
Janet Sroczynski October 18, 2012 at 02:26 PM
@ Emcee of Seekonk - if it were me, and I were looking to save my own job...then I would be exploring other opportunities to partner with other companies, and/or create another opportunity elsewhere in the marketplace where my skills would make an attractive fit. Let me give you and others a quick example. Read my comment above regarding Canada and a 15% tax rate, jobs at Sensata etc. And then try and follow my train of thought here below. If you go along to: http://www.schwinnbikes.com/bikes/mountain Then up pops the website for Schwinn bikes, a division of Dorel Industries, headquartered in Montreal, Canada. And yet, Dorel also has offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen, China...that oversees the sourcing of engineering, logistics in all of its Asian operations. Source: http://www.pacificcycle.com/our-story. Pacific Cycle is a parent company of Schwinn;Mongoose;InSTEP;IronHorse Bikes;Kid Trax;Playsafe;Roadmaster;Pacific;Dyno;Powerlite. email: info@pacific-cycle.com, Madison, WI. If it were me, and my job/company was leaving the local area and possibly heading to China, given the info.-above, I would say: "Gee, might there be an opportunity to further develop a business relationship" - and then if you/others can follow my train of thought, "add" another option to our area for business/economic-development; as I just outlined. Barrington, RI-has bike paths, etc. Also - consider Felt Bikes. See Felt's website for details. Schwinn + Felt Bikes.
Emcee of Seekonk October 18, 2012 at 02:27 PM
@Wendy... Futhermore, those folks are in Massachusetts to bugger up the senate and HR elections, if they can. The last time this state voted for a Republican president was in 1984... almost 30 years ago. So these folks, and more importantly, the people paying for them to come here, know MA is solidly Democratic... except when it votes for Scott Brown. Bielat and Brown for 2012.
Emcee of Seekonk October 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM
@paul... And who is the biggest friend of unions? Who makes sure all stimulus funds go to union jobs? Who bails out union-run shops like GM? I'm surprised you still call yourself a Democrat and an Obama Democrat at that.
Wendy Wagner October 18, 2012 at 02:39 PM
"Futhermore, those folks are in Massachusetts to bugger up the senate and HR elections, if they can." Or maybe they are just tired of outsourcing and want it to stop? Look, do you think outsourcing is a good idea or a bad idea? Do you think we should pay Americans the same wages that are paid to factory workers in China? Why are we so focused on profits for investors and high salaries for CEOs? I was talking with some people about the differences between Obama and Romney yesterday, and what we realized is that some people don't want to become rich. They just want a decent job and some stability. That's the middle class. yes, they are entrepreneurs out there, and lord love 'em, they have a compulsion to follow their dreams. Both these people can exist, but they both have to exist, I think. We can't all be entrepreneurs, and we can't all be people who crave stability. Politics has always been about finding the balance.
Janet Sroczynski October 18, 2012 at 02:49 PM
http://www.feltbicycles.com Felt Bikes.
Adam Edward October 18, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Darren, there are still 174 chapters of Acorn that DO exist. Calling someone else an idiot makes you look really intelligent.
Emcee of Seekonk October 18, 2012 at 03:27 PM
@Wendy... Outsourcing has been around a long time. Mexico and India comes to mind, but there are countless other places. China is somewhat new. There has even been outsourcing within our own country, just count all the empty textile mills in New England. Corporations have to turn a profit or they fold. Union wages and demands often become unsustainable. Do I think outsourcing is good? No, especially if you are the one losing a job. Do I think it is bad? No, especially if you are the company ready to go bankrupt. It's all about finding that balance you mention. Unions have to give... cities and towns are going bankrupt because of unfunded pension demands. Is it fair for some people to earn $50 an hour while others struggle on $10. CEOs of large corporations and banks have to give even more, their wages and perks are totally out of line. Many give back in charities like Bill Gates and all those other super rich but it is discretional, at their whim. We can try to tax them, but they'll figure a way around it. The rich will always be with us. So is it Obama who will lead the groups to compromise? He hasn't yet. Or should we give another guy, a Romney a shot at it. He has been known to be able to compromise. Compromise with a 90% Democratic legislature as Governor to get something done in MA must have been a difficult feat, but he managed it. Romney 2012
Wendy Wagner October 18, 2012 at 05:36 PM
" Compromise with a 90% Democratic legislature as Governor to get something done in MA must have been a difficult feat, but he managed it." As far as I can tell, he just rolled over for the Democratic legislature and now calls it compromise, mainly because he disavows the same health care plan he signed in MA that Obamacare is based on. Romney didn't compromise. He caved. And now he's putting a good face on it by calling it compromise.
Amy October 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Has BO ever reached on to Republicans on even one occasion? Ummm, no. Do you think Pochontis would ever? Umm, no. Kennedy? No. Heroux? No. Scott Brown? Yes, and he has on several occasions. Does anyone know who financed this little bus trip of Acorn members? Just wondering..
Emcee of Seekonk October 22, 2012 at 03:59 PM
"Has BO ever reached on to Republicans on even one occasion?" BO managed to pass that enormous boondoggle called Obamacare with not one single Republican vote. Half the country not allowed any input into that bill. And what does he have waiting for the next four years... one might wonder. Guaranteed he will not do anything about the high cost of energy and food, because he just doesn't care. He watched it get out of hand and never made an effort to turn it around. Now we have the Middle East in a turmoil. He went in and took out two presidents (Egypt and Lybia) who were actually our allies. The area is going up in flames. His foreign policy is no better than his domestic policy and the guy's gotta go. He's friendly and street smart, but a leader he is not.

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