When, in his first debate with President Obama, Mitt Romney claimed to know nothing about tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas, did he spare a thought for workers at Sensata Technologies, a company controlled by Bain Capital with significant investments from Romney himself, who are about to become unemployed as their jobs are moved to China?
Romney said to Obama that "you said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas. Look, I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant." Obama was right; Romney was wrong. Romney wasn't just wrong, though. He was heartless, dismissing the possibility of tax breaks for offshoring plants as a matter for his accountant, not a matter of people's lives and livelihoods. And at the very moment he was saying this, Sensata workers in Illinois were fighting to keep their jobs from going to Chinese replacement workers they had been forced to train themselves. Though Sensata is very profitable, Bain saw a chance for more profits in China, and saw 170 American jobs as disposable in pursuit of that profit.
The Sensata workers have been fighting for months, fighting to save their jobs or even to get people to pay attention to what's happening to them. They're not just losing jobs they've held for decades, in some cases. Workers close to retirement won't get their retirement. Instead, they'll get severance. But severance packages were cut shortly before the layoffs were announced, so that, for instance, one worker who would have gotten more than a year of severance pay will now only get 26 weeks. This is a fight for what they've earned through years of hard work. It's a fight for their ability to pay the mortgage or send their kids to college, for their lives as they have lived them for decades working in this plant.
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