A Bain Capital-created company based in Attleboro will be ground zero today for shining a light on two things Mitt Romney doesn’t want America to know about him: his tough talk last night on China doesn’t match his free market actions, and the company he once ran is bad for America’s working class.
Employees from Illinois will rally today at Sensata headquarters in Attleboro to protest their jobs being outsourced to China. Sensata is not only partly owned, and created by, Bain but Mitt Romney owns stock in the company and he recently profited from transferring his Sensata holdings to a foundation, according to a New York Times expose on Romney and Bain’s ties to China.
“About a dozen workers from the Freeport plant and other businesses associated with Bain Capital say they will show up at the headquarters building at 11 a.m. to seek an explanation why their jobs are being sent to China,” reports Rick Foster of the Attleboro Sun Chronicle.
Tom Gaulra, one of the employees who is losing his job, recounted his experience working for a Bain-created company in the Huffington Post today.
I’ve worked at the same factory in Freeport, Ill. for thirty-three years, making sensors and controls for the auto industry. It’s tough work, but it pays a living wage with health benefits that folks can count on, and it fuels our town’s economy and tax base.
That’s been changing since Bain Capital came to town. Two years ago, our factory was sold to Sensata Technologies, a company created by Bain Capital, and they told us that by December 2012, all 170 of our jobs would be shipped to China. They even made us train our Chinese replacements.
Gaulra writes that while Romney didn’t work at Bain when they created the company that outsourced his job, he is making money off of his misfortune.
…Mitt Romney’s connection to Sensata is even more direct. He is also personally invested in Sensata Technologies, according to his 2010 and 2011 tax returns, and last year got a huge tax break by moving some of his Sensata stock to one of his foundations.
That’s right: Mitt Romney got a big tax break on his investment in his company that’s shipping my job to China. My pain is Mitt Romney’s gain.
The New York Times wrote about Mitt Romney’s ties to Sensata in an article last week titled “As Romney Repeats Trade Message, Bain Maintains China Ties.”
Mr. Romney also has millions invested in a series of Bain funds that have a controlling stake in Sensata Technologies, a manufacturer of sensors and controls for vehicles, aircraft and electric motors that employs 4,000 workers in China. Since Bain took over the operation in 2006, its investment has quadrupled in value. Bain continues to own $2.6 billion worth of Sensata’s shares.
Two years ago, Sensata bought an operation that made automobile sensors in Freeport, Ill. At the first meeting with the plant’s 170 workers, Sensata managers announced that by the end of 2012 all the equipment and jobs would be relocated, mostly to Jiangsu Province. Workers have staged demonstrations, pleading for Mr. Romney to intervene on their behalf.
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 on China 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.
Jiangsu Province, where most of the Freeport jobs are moving, is one of China’s designated “export bases” for auto parts. Asimco, the other auto parts manufacturer in Bain’s portfolio, also has factories in Jiangsu Province and three other regions designated as export bases.
The Chinese government incentives offered to companies in those “bases” set off a complaint from the United States to the World Trade Organization last month. The United States asserted that in 2011, China spent $1 billion on grants, tax preferences, lowered interest rates and other subsidies to increase exports of auto parts in violation of fair trade rules.
Mr. Romney has been critical of these types of Chinese incentives to bolster exports.