UAW Solidarity House | 8000 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48214 | p. (313) 926-5000
© Copyright 2013 UAW. All Rights Reserved.
Sensata supports block a truck from leaving the Illinois plant. Workers were arrested for blocking the trucks at the facility, which is owned by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital and is sending the Sensata workers' jobs to China. Photos courtesy of Alder Lakish.
The message is simple from the protesters at “Bainport:”
“‘Mitt Romney is sending my job to China,” reads a sign fastened to a fence outside the Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Ill.
The plant is owned by Romney’s Bain Capital and manufactures sensors and controls for auto manufacturers. And, in a poignant example of what a Romney economy would mean for millions of hard-working Americans, it will close the day before Election Day, kicking 170 workers to the curb while sending their jobs to Chinese sweatshops.
Three Bainport protesters were arrested earlier this week for blocking trucks that were removing machinery from the plant. They and other protesters have set up camp across the street to publicize the plight of the Sensata workforce and call on the GOP presidential candidate to prove he cares about jobs – -- American jobs, that is.
An independent film crew is on the scene and will release “Behind Your Back,” a documentary on the protesters on Oct. 26. Producer/Director Alder Lakish of Stone Soup Studios said the Sensata story needs to be told to those who care about American jobs.
“This movie is a social interest story,” he said in an email to the UAW. “The heroic struggle of the Bain/Sensata workers to preserve their honor and dignity amid this sad assault on their wellbeing and livelihood is what inspires my team to create this film.
“In political and economic journalism, a story like the struggle of Sensata workers to keep their jobs from being outsourced to China often is communicated as numbers; in this case the number of 170 workers who are losing their jobs. But as a narrative filmmaker I am interested in the human side of this story. Who are these people? Especially, who are these brave few who are willing to risk the repercussions of standing up and confronting this huge corporation called Bain Capital who owns Sensata?”
Lakish added that he wants to know what the workers’ lives are like and what the personal impact on human families and human emotions that is caused by outsourcing. What will this do to the small, rural town of Freeport?
The director said he wants the film, which will be available on DVD through the website, to be used by labor groups to not only tell the story of outsourced workers, but spur more support for the re-election of President Obama and fill Senate and House seats with worker-friendly candidates.
Police warn protesters before arresting them for failure to comply with a police order. The protests were peaceful.
“This film is a tool for organized labor to help persuade and re-inspire the U.S. working class, and especially those 4 or 6 percent of undecided voters, of the importance of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the millions of Americans who are still lucky enough to be represented by a labor union,” he added.
The protesters who refused to move for the trucks were arrested for failure to comply with a police order.
“We were trying to stop the movement of the machines,” 16-y ear-old Karri Penniston told the Rockford Register Star. “The more we stand up, the more people are going to notice. People think that we’re out here just because we know someone who works there. This affects everyone. I’m getting what I want out of this. I’m getting my point proven.”
Penniston, whose mother Joanne works at the plant, told the newspaper she knew she was going to be arrested.
“I did it because my mom couldn’t do it herself, she’s in the factory working,” Penniston told the newspaper.
Lakish counts Karri Penniston and her mother among the true heroes of his film.
“Most inspiring is the spirit of human resilience that refuses to surrender its positive pursuit of middle class living despite these enormous challenges. To me these ordinary workers are the true heroes and heroines of our great nation,” he said. “They pursue the great American Dream of working hard for a fair wage and making life just a little bit better for their community and their own children and grandchildren than it was for them.
“I am inspired by that attitude, even amidst the great political treachery and betrayal of these long held American values that seems to be engrained into the very DNA of a corporate raiding and asset stripping structure like that of Bain Capital.”