Yesterday, my blog challenged Congresswoman Schakowsky to eschew the theatrics of marching on the Bain Capital outpost in Evanston to protest the closing of a Freeport business, and instead focus on the issues that may have led the company to decide that doing business in Illinois is no longer possible. (See Schakowsky Bain Protest Blows the Opportunity). Well, Jan didn't show. Instead sending a spokesman named "Alex" to read a statement from Jan describing how awful it is when people lose their jobs (see picture)
Alex explained that Jan had a "scheduling conflict". It must have happened rather suddenly - I called Jan's office two hours before the scheduled "protest" and the office confirmed she would be there at 5:30. Hopefully, Schakowsky was heeding my advice and had scheduled a meeting with Sensata officials to learn whether the Illinois business climate had anything to do with the company leaving Illinois.
I did show up at 5:30. There was a crowd of 20 people bused in to support the protest. One protestor told me they were assembled by a group that mobilizes church memebers to support workers' rights. Three female workers from the Freeport facility did show up carrying a stack of signatures downloaded from the Internet supporting keeping the Freeport facility open. (see picture).
In an impromptu news conference in front of the Chase building - where the petitions were unceremoniously left with building security officers - the three Sensata employees answered questions about what it felt like to lose a job.
I interrupted: "What reason have you been given about why they are closing the plant".
"Well, that materials cost less in China, and it costs less to make things in China, including labor", said one of the three women. "Imagine, it takes 10 Chinese workers to run a machine that only takes one American to run".
"What about the Reuters report that the plant's most promising customer base was in China?" I asked.
The woman answered: "Well, yes. We've heard that, too. It is possible".
I wanted to pursue this line of questioning further - it is the line of questioning I proposed that Schakowsky should be asking to learn more about fixing the Illinois economy. I wasn't given the opportunity to follow-up, though. A young man who seemed to be an organizer of the protest steered the women back to their lower-chakra script. He shouted out: "Go back to telling them what it is like to lose your jobs. What does it mean to you?" A woman took the cue: "Well, my son is in the Army and I want him to have a good job in Freeport when he comes home."
I hope Schakowsky had more success in her meeting with Sensata.
I did see Tim Wolfe at the protest. He is running against Schakowsky for her seat in Congress. (see picture).
An irony. To the left of Tim in the picture you will see the words "Bright Horizon". Bright Horizon is a national chain of child care centers that will be opening a facility on Orrington this fall, according to their website.
So, now guess who owns Bright Horizons? Bain Capital. Is there no end of the evil of Romney? Will Schakowsky protest the opening of Bright Horizons? Will Alex show up and read a statement?
Will you send your child to Bright horizons?
So many questions, so little time.