The Starting Line – Bain Owned Plant Drops US Flag as US Workers Forced to Train Chinese Replacements

Photo: Rock River Times

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney loves to berate the Chinese on the campaign trail.  He portrays himself as the candidate that will stop Beijing from “cheating” that will stem the flow of jobs being exported to Asia from the United States.  Yet an Illinois company that he has large investments in is forcing soon to be laid off workers to train their Chinese replacements even as Romney continues to claim that his programs will revive the economy and create jobs.

To make matters worse, the U.S. flag that has always flown in front of the company’s Freeport , Ill. headquarters was removed just as the Chinese trainees arrived.  The facility, which is non-unionized, employees 170 people.

Workers at the Sensata Technologies plant set up camp in an adjacent fairground over a month ago, hoping to draw more attention to their cause.  About a dozen people have been there round the clock even as temperatures outside have rapidly declined. The encampment is a nod to both the “Hoovervilles” of unemployed workers that sprung up during the Great Depression and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

From the New York Times article on Sensata yesterday:

Chinese engineers, flown to Freeport for training on the equipment, described their salaries as a pittance compared with Freeportwages. Tom Gaulrapp, who has operated machines at the factory for 33 years, said he fears he will go bankrupt after he loses his job on Nov. 5.

“This goes to show the unbelievable hypocrisy of this man,” he said of Mr. Romney. “He talks about how we need to get tough onChina and stop China from taking our jobs, and then he is making money off shipping our jobs there.”

It is often difficult to determine precisely how much Mr. Romney benefits from specific investments by Bain funds, since his money goes into a pool used to buy stakes in companies. In the case of Sensata, however, it is clearer because he reported a charitable donation of $405,000 in Sensata stock that he received as “partnership distributions” in 2010 and 2011, according to his tax returns.

UPDATE: The flag is again flying in Freeport. IL. Watch this video. Sensata made record profits last year. The Chinese line employees will be paid 99 cents an hour.  The employees at that Freeport Il factory have a few words they’d like to share with you:

Homophobes Launch Boycott of Anti-Bullying Day

Decrying ‘Mix It Up at Lunch Day’ as part of a ‘a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools’, the conservative evangelical American Family association is urging its members to withdraw their children from school on October 30th.

The eleven year old program is intended as a way to break up cliques and prevent bullying.  Students are random paired by school officials during lunch time, encouraging them to get to know people that they normally wouldn’t hang out with as human beings. Many schools initiated the program in remembrance of the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

The program was launched by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is now observed in more than 2500 schools.  The American Family Association campaign has consisted on emails, which are described by school officials that have investigated the claims made as having “absolutely no resemblance to what we do.”

It is widely thought that email effort is an attempt at revenge by the AFA, which was listed by the Southern Poverty groups as an organization that actively promotes hate.  The list includes neo-Nazi groups, Black separatists and Holocaust Deniers.

DeMaio’s Significant Other Denies Dems Ad Request

A local activist group is crying foul after a media platform owned by the significant other of Mayoral Candidate Carl DeMaio refused to accept a paid ad for a slate of candidates that included Congressman Bob Filner.

Craig Roberts, Vice President of San Diego Democrats for Equality, contacted Hale Media, owners of the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News (SDGLN) website, last Wednesday seeking to place advertising in support of the Democratic club’s slate of endorsed candidates.  The organization has a long history of activism on behalf of GLBT rights.

Upon finding out that the Democrats for Equality slate ad included an endorsement for Congressman Bob Filner’s Mayoral campaign, SDGLN sent the following email response:

SDGLN has made a business decision to not accept advertisements for Bob Filner’s mayoral campaign or its supporters, due to the fact that Mr. Filner has falsely accused our company, its employees and our Publisher Johnathan Hale of committing a crime this summer.  It is unfortunate that he has yet to offer any apology for making false accusations. Should he decide to do the right thing, we would be happy to work with him or his supporters on placing advertisements with our publication.

Since all the other endorsements by San Diego Democrats for Equality were excluded, as a public service we’re publishing them here:


About That San Diego Convention Center Expansion

The SD Reader’s Reader’s Don Bauder spotted an article in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal that will never get noticed in our City’s rush to expand the convention center.

 The weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 13-14) shows how the convention center industry keeps expanding into a glut. Although leisure travel has recovered from the deep recession, convention business has not made similar gains, says the Journal. A chart tells the story: since the year 2000, convention center space has grown by 35.4% while attendance has dropped by 1.7%. Thus, to stay competitive, convention centers are cutting prices; convention planners can wangle very good deals, notes the Journal.

May I suggest that we save this clip up somewhere so it can be used as a campaign ad in the next election cycle? The Journal and Mr. Bauder are not the only ones pointing their fingers at the financial train wreck that will soon engulf the embarcadero.

On This Day: 1883 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The decision allowed individuals and corporations to discriminate based on race.  In 1968 Led Zeppelin made its performance debut in England.  In 1984 The Freedom of Information Act was passed.

On This Day: Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Escondido (Welk Resort 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive) 1pm –Sunset

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatarCraig Roberts says

    Thanks for the posting about Hale Media refusing to run our endorsement ads. I would like to point out that there is an error in the guide that will be corrected on-line shortly and in the ads: Sherri Lightner is running for reelection to San Diego City Council District ONE, not Seven.

    • avatarAndy Cohen says

      He was kind of against it, but now I guess he’s changed his tune and is okay with it, so long as it’s done the right way?

      Back when we interviewed him, he didn’t seem to think that it was necessary, though.