Sensata Technologies workers have been protesting outside the company’s Illinois plant against a decision to send 170 jobs to China, but the protest could end up as much more than just a local movement.
The auto parts company is controlled by Bain Capital, a company once led by Mitt Romney, and some online publications are starting to link the job outsourcing to the GOP candidate.
The ties between Mitt Romney and Sensata Technologies are not strong. In fact, Romney was gone from Bain Capital by the time the decision was made to send jobs overseas. But as Romney has become more aggressive in calling out President Obama for not taking a harder line with China, especially the country’s accused manipulation of currency, many publications are using Sensata Technologies as an example that Romney himself has a complicated relationship with China.
According to The New York Times, Romney still stands to profit off of the Sensata outsourcing:
“In addition, Mr. Romney’s generous retirement agreement ensures that he continues to profit from the deals and decisions that Bain makes. He owns about $8 million worth of Bain funds that hold 51 percent of Sensata’s shares. If Sensata saves money by closing the Freeport plant, that could add money to Mr. Romney’s trust accounts, now or after the election.”
With Romney benefitting financially from moving jobs to China, the liberal blog Politicus USA asks if Romney himself would be able to take a hard line with China.
Obama’s campaign has taken the same stance, saying in a statement:
“Mitt Romney’s talking tough, but his record and his policies show he’s anything but when it comes to China. Mitt Romney called the President’s aggressive action on behalf of American tire workers ‘decidedly bad for the nation.’ As a corporate buyout specialist, he invested in companies that were pioneers in outsourcing to low-wage countries like China. And now, while President Obama would close tax loopholes that reward companies for shipping American jobs overseas, Mitt Romney’s tax plan could create 800,000 jobs outside of America. That’s not a candidate who would be tough on China as president – that’s a candidate who thinks sounding tough will win him votes.”
Though the Sensata Technologies story has not gained much traction in the mainstream media, if it does Mitt Romney could face a blowback that would threaten his growing momentum in the presidential race.