Bain-owned Sensata Charged with Labor Violations for Threatening, Retaliating Against Employees
NLRB Charges Filed as Company Threatens to Shut Down Plant Early if Protests Continue
Freeport, IL – Unfair labor practice charges against Sensata Technologies were filed with the National Labor Relations Board this morning after the Bain-owned company threatened to shut their Freeport plant down immediately if its employees continued to organize to stop the outsourcing of their jobs to China.
The Sensata workers were shocked to hear yesterday that Sensata management asked the Freeport Police to relay a message to employees that they would close the factory earlier than planned if employees continued to protest at the plant. The plant is scheduled to be shut down in December, with the jobs and equipment shipped to a new plant in China.
“Not only are they shipping our jobs to China, they are also trying to take away our rights as American workers,” said Joanne Penniston. “We are not going to be intimidated. We are going to stand up for our rights and our jobs.”
Nine people have been arrested for protesting at the plant so far, and the protests show no sign of slowing down. Rev. Jesse Jackson will be joined by religious and labor leaders for another protest at the plant later today.
Two charges were filed with the NLRB today. The first charge was for “increasing security and announcing a new policy, or a previously unenforced policy, prohibiting off-duty employees from entering work areas at non-work times, in response to and in retaliation for employees engaging in protected concerted activity,” while the second charge was for threatening to shut the plant down.
The charges come after the Sensata plant in Freeport had been shut down for the weekend in the face of growing protests and national attention. MSNBC’s The Ed Show broadcasted live from the Bainport camp across from the plant on Friday night in front of a crowd of hundreds, while CNN reported live from the camp three times last week.
Sensata has emerged as a flashpoint in the controversy over Mitt Romney’s ties to China this fall. Sensata workers have pleaded publicly with Romney to help save their jobs from being outsourced to China. Not only does Romney stand to profit from the outsourcing of these jobs through the stock he still owns in the company, his 2011 tax returns show that he got a huge tax break by moving Sensata stock to a charity organization he controls—and that he continues to profit from Bain’s offshore holdings and tax avoidance strategies.
Three community supporters were arrested earlier in the month for blocking trucks from removing equipment that was on its way to China. Six were arrested as the Sensata workers tried to deliver a petition to the plant manager last week as part of their effort to win a full and fair severance. Workers who have been at the plant for 20, 30 and even 40-plus years are only getting 26 weeks’ pay as a severance from Bain-owned Sensata.