There is a real-life story playing out in real time in Freeport, Illinois, which is west of Chicago. Bain Capital is closing a Sensata factory there, to move the jobs and work to China. The workers are camped out in a tent city they have named “Bainport.” They are asking Mitt Romney to show that he means what he says about jobs and China by helping them keep their jobs. Right now the Sensata workers are blocking trucks brought in to ship the equipment to China. This is an important story because it tells the story of our economy’s loss of jobs and factories and the resulting downward wage pressure. It is also the story of how a very few people are enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of us.
WIFR.com: ‘Bainport’ Blocks Equipment Removal,
Members of the “Bainport” tent community say two trucks pulled into the factory lot around 6 this morning to begin removing machinery from the building, and sending it over to China.
Once the truck pulled in, about a dozen members from “Bainport” and other supporters from the outside community blocked the entrance so cargo could not go in or out.
The Freeport Journal Standard: Sensata workers protest as ‘time runs out’, (emphasis added, for emphasis)
“We saw them bringing in trucks to remove the equipment,” said Sensata employee Tom Gaulrapp. “We are going to try and stop them. We are more and more desperate as time runs out. We’ll do whatever we have to at this point.”
Police were called to the scene as protestors had said they would block the trucks from leaving. As of press time, protestors had complied with police and no arrests had been made.
… “We hope that the next company that decides to outsource jobs will think twice and look at what we’re doing here,” said Gaulrapp. “We want a place where our kids can get good jobs and be able to stay here in Freeport. It rips up the town and it rips up families.”
Asking Romney For Help
The Sensata workers camping at Bainport as asking Mitt Romney to come help them keep their jobs. Romney insists that he has nothing to do with Bain Capital anymore (his tax returns showed that he gets more than $400,000 a week from Bain investments).
Helping the Sensata workers would show that he means it when he says he has nothing to do with the things Bain does now, and that he will do something about the jobs being sent to China. What better opportunity to prove both than to show up and confront Bain for sending these jobs to China!
When asked about this, the Romney campaign responded,
“Governor Romney has not worked at Bain Capital for over a decade, but for four years President Obama has been presiding over an economy that is creating too few jobs and sending more jobs overseas. Despite the President being invested in Sensata through his personal pension fund, and the government owning a major Sensata customer in GM, President Obama has not used his powers to help this situation in any way.”— Curt Cashour, Romney Campaign Spokesman.
See also Ryan Grimm and Dave Jamieson at Huffington Post, Mitt Romney Gets Tax Break Off Firm Sending Jobs To China,
While the workers and the town may suffer, Romney himself has done well as a result of Bain’s work with the company. According to his recently released 2011 tax returns, Romney transferred $701,703 worth of Sensata stock to the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit controlled by Romney. The gift is listed on page 323 of the pdf, on form 8283 (below).
Moving the stock to his nonprofit brings Romney twin benefits. First, he gets to deduct the full value of the stock. At a 35 percent tax rate, that’s nearly a $250,000 benefit. At 15 percent, it’s just over $100,000.
Second, Romney is able to avoid paying capital gains taxes on the stock price increase. Romney’s returns list no cost for the stock, and indicate he obtained them as part of a partnership interest in Bain. Avoiding capital gains taxes on the full increase would save an additional $100,000. In 2010, Romney gifted $170,000 worth of Sensata stock to his charity, saving $25,000 in capital gains taxes that year.
Cheryl Randecker, a Sensata worker facing an imminent layoff, said, “I could pay off my house with that [$25,000], and he doesn’t need it anyway.”
… Rebecca Wilkins, an attorney with Citizens for Tax Justice, said that Romney’s move is a prime example of the way that the super-wealthy are able to game the charitable deduction while still holding on to their money.
This video is titled “Romney’s latest harvest” based on the “harvest” video, in which Romney described Bain’s strategy to “harvest” companies for profit:
See And Read
You can see striking and wonderful photos of the people and their camp in this Daily Kos diary by “noise of rain,” The Faces of Outsourcing: Bainport’s Tent-City Protest in Pictures,
Sensata is owned by Bain Capital which was co-founded and previously run by U.S. Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney. Recently, a video has come to light in which Romney explains the business model he created for Bain Capital and states their purpose is to buy companies and “hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit,”. In January 2011, Bain Capital announced they would be outsourcing over 170 jobs from this plant as well as all equipment, to China. Romney, still owning stock in Bain, stands to profit quite a bit from this move.
You can read about Bainport at bainport.com,
We’re workers at Bain Capital-owned Sensata, 2520 Walnut St, Freeport, Illinois. We’re fighting to save our jobs from being shipped to China by the end of this year. We are calling on Mitt Romney to come to Freeport, IL and we will camp across the street from our plant for as long as it takes!
Help spread the word, this is an important story!
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Sign up here for the CAF daily summary