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 Freeport wages. 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: