Laid-off Sensata workers protest against Bain Capital
NEW YORK — US and French workers blaming Bain Capital, the company founded by Mitt Romney, for stripping them of their jobs and outsourcing to China protested Monday outside Bain’s offices in New York.
About 60 people, led by a man in a monster suit depicting Bain Capital, accused the Republican presidential candidate’s former company of costing them their livelihoods.
“Romney wants to see your jobs shipped overseas,” read one of the placards held up at the protest.
Some of the demonstrators were from Sensata Technologies, a Freeport, Illinois plant owned by Bain that makes electronics for cars and which is losing all its 170 jobs to China. Others used to work for US luggage giant Samsonite at a factory in northern France, which Bain briefly owned.
Mary-Jo Kerr, 29, said she’d been working at Sensata for six years and would be unemployed from November — as soon as she and other colleagues have finished training the mostly Chinese workers who will take their place.
“It’s horrible,” she said. “You’ve got to go in there with your head up. You can’t say what you really feel, but you want to cry.”
She and other American Sensata employees, including people who worked at the plant for decades, are being given 26 weeks severance pay, she said.
A lawyer representing the ex-Samsonite workers said they were suing Bain Capital in a Boston court over its actions in France, where the investment firm allegedly deliberately ran the business into the ground so that the plant could be shut down.
“They understand in fact that the group taking the decisions was not the people on the board of Samsonite but the people at Bain Capital here in the United States,” Fiodor Rilov said. “In the lawsuit they want to show that Bain Capital was involved in an illegal process in France.”
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, retired from Bain in 1999 and his investments there are controlled by a blind trust, effectively nullifying his links to the firm. Romney has defended himself against accusations that he was a corporate raider, saying that Bain has created large numbers of jobs.