How Romney Could Have Stopped Sensata's Outsourcing to China But Did Nothing

Oct 16 2012 Published by under Featured News

The concept of hierarchy is not difficult to understand for anyone who has been in the military or  large organization with a body of persons having authority, and obviously there is always one person at the top with supreme authority.  In the military, for example, a general may have authority over every rank below them, but they still have to answer to the Joint Chief of Staff or the Commander in Chief, the President. The same is true in the corporate world with the CEO at the top of the command structure overseeing and directing the company, and subsequently taking responsibility for any actions of their underlings. The Republican candidate for president was CEO of Bain Capital that is in the news for closing a company in Freeport Illinois, and shipping manufacturing equipment and jobs to China. Willard Romney claims that since he retired sometime between 1999 and 2002 as head of Bain Capital, he is not responsible for relocating Sensata to China, and has refused to intervene and preserve good-paying American jobs. However, Romney still is involved in Bain Capital, and if he so desired, he could have stopped the factory closure and preserve 170 jobs.

Romney may not be the CEO of Bain Capital, but he is heavily involved in Sankaty Advisors, LLC, the credit affiliate of Bain Capital, LLC that is responsible for relocating Sensata operations to China.  Romney’s connection to Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd. went virtually unnoticed for 15 years and was not listed on any of Romney’s state or federal financial reports and only came to light with the release of his 2010 income tax return. The company is among several Romney holdings that have not been fully disclosed as Americans are beginning to discover. In a 2001 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filling, “Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, a director, and President of Sankaty Ltd. and thus is the controlling person of Sankaty,Ltd.” as well as several Bain entities including Bain Capital. Romney transferred ownership of Sankaty to his wife one day prior to being sworn in as governor of Massachusetts, but it is still “in the family” as far as Romney is concerned.

A visit to the Sankaty website shows it is intricately linked to Bain Capital, and for all intents and purposes, there is every appearance they work hand-in-hand. As of July 2012, Sankaty claims it has $19.3 billion assets under management, and naturally,  as CEO, Willard Romney touted one of the Bain Capital’s milestones was founding Sankaty Advisors in 1998 which is reflected in SEC filings. The question that arises then; if Sankaty Advisors is interlinked with Bain Capital, how can Romney claim he has no influence over Bain’s closing the Sensata plant and sending Americans’ jobs to China? He is certainly profiting from closing the plant through both Bain and Sankaty, and he cannot claim ignorance or that Sankaty is not connected to Sensata Technologies.

In a letter from Sankaty Advisors to investors dated December 2010, they specifically cite Sensata Technologies as one of their investments, and coupled with Romney’s  severance package from Bain Capital that allows him to share in company profits as if he were still a partner, it is beyond belief that he could not have influenced the move to China. Romney cannot possibly say he was unaware of the plight of Sensata or the employees who are losing their jobs, because they have appealed to him on several occasions to step in and save their jobs. In fact, Romney has talked tough about jobs going to China and on Saturday in Ohio he said, “It’s time for us to stand up to China for their cheating. It’s got to stop. We’ve got to get those jobs back,” and earlier this month he said, “China has taken Americans’ jobs” while he assailed President Obama for not standing up to China.

When Sensata required American workers to personally train their Chinese replacements before their jobs were eliminated, 170 workers signed an open letter to Romney petitioning him to prevent their jobs from being outsourced to China. They were particularly disturbed that the company physically removed the American Flag before the Chinese replacements arrived to prevent them from being offended, and put it back when the foreign workers left. The workers appealed to Romney and Bain Capital to keep their jobs in America, but they were chastised, locked out of buildings, and at one Romney campaign headquarters near Madison Wisconsin, were forcibly removed from the property. The workers went to the Republican National Convention in Tampa to entreaty Romney personally, and protestors called them communists and chanted “U.S.A., U.S.A.” in an attempt to “make it sound like we were not patriotic” because we wanted to keep good-paying jobs in America.

It is a travesty that Romney did not step in to help the employees at Sensata keep their jobs when he had two avenues of influence to halt the outsourcing. What is mindboggling is that he passed up a prime opportunity to bolster his image as a champion for American jobs in the midst of a presidential campaign. However, Romney’s thirst for wealth overrides any sense of political expediency and one wonders if he thought the story would just fade away.

Romney will say Sankaty is held in a blind trust under his wife’s name, but as Romney himself said, “blind trusts are an age-old ruse” and that anything a company does is the responsibility of the person at the top. It is also noteworthy to point out that Romney never said he was not still in control of Bain Capital, and it was an advisor, Ed Gillespie, who said he wasretroactively retired” from Bain, and he uses his so-called resignation in February 1999 as an excuse that he “was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.” Still, he will profit from outsourcing Sensata to China from his Bain Capital and Sankaty Advisors connection while 170 Americans lose their jobs and a community loses a large employer.

The tragedy of 170 Americans losing their jobs to China to profit two of Romney’s business interests is giving the American people a living, breathing view of his mindset that personal profits supersede his so-called concern for the American labor force. Regardless of Romney’s contention that he will “get those jobs back” from China, he is profiting from sending 170 jobs straight to China after Sensata employees were forced to train their replacements and assist in deconstructing the factory to ship it overseas. The real issue is that relocating Sensata to China is just one very visible case and there is no way of knowing how many times in the past 28 years Bain Capital has either bankrupted, closed, or sent jobs and companies to China.

Romney could have stopped Sensata employees from losing their jobs if he wanted to either from his Sankaty Advisors or Bain Capital connections. The companies are intertwined and it is curious that both of them claim investment in Sensata that Romney will profit from with the relocation because neither Bain nor Sankaty would send the company to China without a great profit motive. It is tragic that 170 American workers’ jobs are being lost in such a public display, but it does give the American people a glimpse into the profit-driven mindset behind everything Romney does and the blatant disregard he has for the people. Romney exposed his contempt for 47% of Americans because they are too poor to pay income taxes, but with the Sensata story, he is exposing his contempt for middle class Americans who do pay income taxes and if anyone is keeping score, that means he disdains 98% of America.

Comments are off for this post