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Republic workers to visit ‘Bainport’

Workers from Chicago’s Republic Windows are joining Freeport factory workers fighting the outsourcing of their jobs by Bain Capital.

Republic workers attend hold a solidarity meeting on Sunday, October 21, at 1 p.m. at the “Bainport” encampment in the county fairground across the street from the Sensata plant on Freeport’s south side.

While Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has promised to “get tough on China,” he turned a deaf ear to Sensata workers’ pleas for his help to save their jobs from being outsourced to China, said Tom Gaulrapp, a 33-year employee of the automotive sensor plant.

Romney stands to profit from the outsourcing of Freeport workers’ jobs through Bain Capital stock he owns, and he continues to profit from Bain’s offshore holdings and tax avoidance strategies, Gaulrapp said.  The plant closing is now becoming an issue in the presidential campaign.

Since it’s become clear that Romney isn’t going to step in and the plant closing is going ahead, workers are fighting for a “full and fair severance,” Gaulrapp  said.

Six local supporters were arrested at the Sensata plant on Wednesday as they tried to deliver a petition to the plant manager calling for full pensions for Sensata workers.

On Friday, hundreds of workers from around the region joined the audience for a live broadcast of MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Show, with Representative Jan Schakowsky speaking in support of Sensata workers’ demands.

Republic workers won back severance and vacation pay that was blocked when their plant was suddenly shut down in 2008, and helped find a new owner.  Now they’ve formed a worker-run cooperative and are seeking to assume ownership of the plant.

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