Workers at an Illinois factory, owned by Bain Capital LLC, are pleading with Mitt Romney to intervene and save their jobs. About 170 workers at the Sensata Technologies Inc., automotive sensor plant in Freeport, Il., are slated to be downsized when Bain closes the plant and moves production to China.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee managed and was sole owner of Bain until 1999, but says he has no current leadership in the company. He remains the firm's largest shareholder, however owning a majority stake. Bain, a private equity firm that buys struggling companies and restructures them, took over Sensata in 2006.
Sensata employees took to the talk show circuit, appearing on two MSNBC shows: The ED Show and The Last Word.
Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp told Industry Week that the workers believed Romney could influence Bain's decision. "They realize this is an election year," he said. "They realize that Gov. Romney was associated with Bain, that he was their sole stockholder [until] 1999 and ran the company. So they know there's an opportunity to get some attention."
Romney has faced fierce questioning about his role at Bain along with demands that he make his tax returns public. He has released two years of tax returns, but refused to release returns from 1999 -2002. Romney says that once he left Bain Capital LLC in 1999, he no longer any decision making role with the company. The timing matters, because between 1999 and 2003, Bain shuttered several U.S. companies and transferred production to other countries. Factcheck.org, an independent factchecking group supports Romney's version of events.
Factcheck cites a Fortune magazine article, that reports it has obtained confidential company documents from that time period that show Romney was not part of Bain's decision making team.
The Boston Globe first reported that Romney continued to be a "part-timer" at Bain through 2002.
The Boston Herald reports on Bain's first investors.
The Washington Post: Bain questions put Romney campaign on the defensive.
Slate Magazine: The Pain in Bain
Romney's Bain troubles have provided plenty of fodder for comedians too. Comedian Jon Stewart lampooned the situation on The Daily Show, Wednesday.