FREEPORT- Civil Rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson will be the latest political celebrity to visit the 'Bainport' tent compound across from Freeport's Sensata plant. Jackson will arrive at 3pm Monday to show his support for picketers protesting the outsourcing of 170 jobs there to China by the end of the year. Jackson will then stay through the night with the workers and watch the Presidential debate with them.
The outsourcing is being done by plant owners Bain Capital, and workers are hoping their protests will get the attention of Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who founded Bain and remains one of its largest shareholders even though he has had no direct association with company operations for more than ten years.
The 'Bainport' protests have brought a steady stream of Democrats and left-leaning media organizations in recent weeks. Liberal MSNBC commentator Ed Schultze did his entire hour-long program live from the 'Bainport' compound on Friday, compelling company leaders to close the plant for the weekend. Civil Rights leader and MSNBC personality Al Sharpton joined the protesters on Saturday. A Sensata worker slated to be laid off in November also participated in a panel discussion in New York on the MSNBC program 'Up with Chris Hayes' over the weekend. Sen. Dick Durbin and former NAACP Chief Julian Bond have also spent time at the Bainport compound.
Company officials have not commented on the outsourcing, but the issue is seen by some as exposing a flaw in Romney's economic views. Romney has espoused a 'get tough with China' economic approach in his campaign, including classifying the nation as a curency manipulator, but has been accused by the Obama campaign of being a proponent of outsourcing in the past. The Obama campaign put out ads accusing Romney of outsourcing steel jobs when he ran Bain Capital, but Romney says he was not running the company at the time the outsourcing decision was made and played no part in the decision.
WTVO 17 and WQRF 39 News will have a crew covering Jackson's appearance.