Sensata Workers Protest Outsourcing

By: Jessica Geraci Email
By: Jessica Geraci Email

FREEPORT (WIFR) -- More than 100 workers at one of Freeport’s largest employers are banding together in an effort to save their jobs.

“I’ve been there 19 years," says Jeffrey Lobdell, “We work hard, our workforce is made up of very good workers and to have them pick it up and say that they can make the same products cheaper and make more money is disturbing because we are profitable.”

Lobdell is one of 170 Freeport Sensata workers who could be out of a job this December. On Sunday, dozens packed into a local restaurant to show they're against a move that will shift the company's production to china. The workers met at Logan’s Bar and Grill, along with local lawmakers and community members. Cheryl Randecker helped organize the event; she’s worked for the company for more than 30 years and says this isn't the first time jobs at her plant have been shipped overseas

“We wouldn't have to worry about creating jobs if we just left them here,” says Randecker.

Some workers are already planning their next step, like going back to school or starting their own business. Others, like Dot Turner, are worried about their future. Turner says she's worked hard for 43 years and she’s not looking forward to competing against her children and grandchildren for a job.

“In a community the size of Freeport, there aren't a whole lot of high paying professional jobs that I can look forward to, to make the same money as I do now,” says Turner.

Employees and members of the community are continuing to write letters to Sensata's CEO, as well as Bain Capital, which bought the business in 2006. Residents hope their messages won't be ignored.
"We need to change the way companies do business. We don’t need them to outsource jobs to anywhere like China”, says Randecker.
Meanwhile, Lobdell says he'll continue to fight for his job until the doors at Sensata close for good.

Workers posted signs outside Logan’s saying "Mitt Romney save my job!" Romney helped found the financial company Bain Capital. Sensata employees hope the Republican presidential candidate will make another stop in the Stateline to listen to what they have to say.

Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp and congressional candidate Cheri Bustos attended the rally to show their support. Earlier this month, Congressman Don Manzullo and Bobby Schilling sent a letter to Sensata's CEO urging him to re-think the overseas proposal.

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