Turbo Coil to the Rescue of Sensata Workers?

Sarah Cobarrubias

Sensata workers rally at Bainport, calling for Mitt Romney to help save their jobs from outsourcing to China. (Photo via Bainport)
Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pa­ny Tur­bo Coil might just swoop in and save the day for some of the 170 Sen­sa­ta work­ers fac­ing unem­ploy­ment when their Freeport, Ill. plant clos­es in Decem­ber. The refrig­er­a­tor coil man­u­fac­tur­er is con­sid­er­ing open­ing a new plant in Freeport that would hire for­mer Sen­sa­ta workers.
Employ­ees at the Sen­sa­ta fac­to­ry, which is owned by Bain Cap­i­tal, are cur­rent­ly train­ing their Chi­nese replace­ments at the com­pa­ny’s behest. Many have also been pick­et­ing and demon­strat­ing to protest the lay­offs.Sen­sa­ta work­ers have called repeat­ed­ly for for­mer Bain CEO and cur­rent pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney to help them, but to no avail—Romney has refused to meet. The work­ers even set up a protest camp, apt­ly named Bain­port, in the coun­ty fair­grounds across the street from Sen­sa­ta. Last week the com­pa­ny threat­ened to shut down ear­ly if work­ers did not cease their ral­ly­ing. In response 14 pro­test­ers, includ­ing allies such as the Rev. Jesse Jack­son, marched from Bain­port to the plant and were arrest­ed (and lat­er released.)The nation­al atten­tion gar­nered by the protests is start­ing to pay off. On Thurs­day, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Cal­i­for­nia com­pa­ny Tur­bo Coil took a tour of Freeport to look at pos­si­ble facil­i­ties for a new plant.The company’s CEO indi­cat­ed that his inter­est in the Sen­sa­ta-out­sourc­ing sit­u­a­tion was sparked when he saw cov­er­age of the work­ers’ protests on MSNBC. He had been plan­ning to build a new fac­to­ry in Las Vegas, but began think­ing about chang­ing the loca­tion to Freeport. Tur­bo Coil would ini­tial­ly hire 25 employ­ees, giv­ing first con­sid­er­a­tion to for­mer Sen­sa­ta work­ers, and even­tu­al­ly bring on as many as 100 work­ers. All of Tur­bo Coil’s parts are made in America.
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