Bain Capital and Sensata Technologies Launch Race to the Bottom

Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights |  By  | October, 10 2012 |  Share  | Source Article



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Bain Capital and Sensata Technologies Launch Race to the Bottom
Pitting American workers against young women in China
Paid 99 cents an hour, while working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Is Mitt Romney Pro-Life?...Perhaps.  But not when he is investing in China.


Bain Capital—which was founded by Mitt Romney, who still holds significant investment in the company—is shutting down the Sensata factory in Freeport, Illinois the day before the Presidential Election.

Despite the fact that the Freeport factory was extremely profitable—while its workers earned $14 to $17 an hour with benefits—Bain is terminating 170 workers in order to relocate the work to China.

At Bain’s Sensata Technologies factories in Changzhou and Baoying, management hires only young women, the vast majority of whom work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week for wages of just 99 cents to $1.35 per hour.  The workers say it is not much of a life.  All they do is work.  They do not enjoy religious freedom, political freedom, or internationally recognized labor rights.

  • Sensata Technologies Changzhou Co. Ltd., Changzhou, China

It is typical for the young women workers to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week for an 84-hour workweek with a single one-hour break each day for lunch.  Workers routinely put in 77 hours of work per week, and earn just $1.35 an hour.

  • Sensata Technologies Baoying Co. Ltd, Baoying, China

Female workers account for over 90 percent of the workforce.  It is the norm for them to work 150 overtime hours per month, which amounts to a 75-hour work week, including 35 hours of overtime.  The monthly overtime hours exceed China’s legal limit by 317 percent.  The workers earn just 99 cents an hour.


Is Mitt Romney Pro-Life?  ...Perhaps.  But not when he is investing in China.

“Mitt Romney is pro-life...  Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view...  The compassionate instincts of this country should not be silent in the face of injustices like China’s one-child policy.  No one will ever hear a President Romney or his vice president tell the Chinese government that ‘I fully understand’ and won’t ‘second guess’ compulsory sterilization and forced abortion.”

                                                                                       - Romney Campaign, Values

The U.S.-owned Sensata Technologies factories in Changzhou and Baoying in the province of Jiangsu in China are only two examples of Mr. Romney’s multiple investments in China.

China’s one-child policy is very stringently enforced in this area.  Women must get a permit from the government to conceive and give birth.  Even for couples who just got married and have never had a child, it is still illegal for the wife to become pregnant without a permit, and they are required to abort the child.  If they do not abort the baby and give birth, they are in violation of the law and will be fined, and they will not enjoy maternity leave or insurance.  The fine would be 20 percent of the average annual take-home pay for the city.

Workers in China live hand to mouth, and no worker would have the means to pay such a fine.

Any woman who becomes pregnant with a second child will have to abort the child or pay a fine worth more than four times the average annual take-home pay, which no worker can possibly afford.

Sensata is closing a plant in Freeport, Illinois, which functioned perfectly well and at a profit over the last 60 years. 

Given Mr. Romney’s strong position against abortion (which we presume would extend to the women workers at the Sensata factories in China), he should not be enriching himself and his family through his retirement fund, which includes stocks in Sensata.  In fact, once the Freeport, Illinois plant shuts down, which is expected the day before election day, and the work is relocated to China, the Romneys will see their Sensata stocks gain very handsomely.


What Does Bain Capital/Sensata Technologies Have to Hide? 

This is the question Charles Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, is asking Bain Capital:

“Why is Bain Capital refusing to tell the truth to the American people, acknowledging that Sensata Technologies pays their young women workers in China just 99 cents to $1.35 an hour to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week?  Does Bain Capital care that the young women working in Sensata factories in China have no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, no political freedoms and no right to the International Labor Organization’s internationally recognized labor rights standards?  The American people deserve an answer.”

Given Mr. Romney’s position on abortion, we believe he should immediately divest himself of all stock in Sensata and give the money to a charity of his choosing.

Furthermore, on moral grounds, Mr. Romney should also ask Bain Capital to drop their 51 percent stake in Sensata-China.




For news articles and the report on Global-Tech, Bain and Romney's other investiment, please visit Romney/Bain invested in brutal Chinese sweatshops