"Bainport" Protests
12:25 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Jesse Jackson Among 14 Protesters Arrested In Freeport

The sign towering over the encampment.
The sign towering over the encampment.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Fourteen people, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, were arrested Wednesday afternoon after marching onto the grounds of the Sensata Technologies factory in Freeport. They're protesting the company's decision to move 170 jobs from the northwest Illinois city to China.

This was Jackson's second visit this week to the site protesters have dubbed "Bainport." They've set up an encampment at the Stephenson County Fairgrounds, right across the street from Sensata. Many of the protesters are Sensata employees who have already been laid off or will be by the end of the year. They've been joined by sympathetic community members, union representatives, and some high-profile political figures as well. The name "Bainport" was chosen to draw the connection between Sensata and Bain Capital, which owns a controlling interest in the company. Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is a founder of Bain Capital. 

Those arrested Wednesday were charged with criminal trespassing, which is just a violation of city ordinances. Jackson says to expect larger protests next week in Freeport.

Sensata employees also filed charges of unfair labor practices against the company. They accuse the company of retaliating against workers and threatening to close the plant early just to stop the protests.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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