The Rev. Jesse Jackson was among 14 people arrested Wednesday during an attempt to meet with the manager of a northern Illinois plant in the process of moving nearly 200 jobs to China.
Workers at the Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport have been protesting the outsourcing of jobs and on Wednesday filed unfair labor practice charges against the company.
Sensata, a Massachusetts-based manufacturer of sensors and controls for automakers, is mostly owned and controlled by Bain Capital, the asset management and financial services firm founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and others. Romney still owns stock in the company, and his 2011 tax returns indicate he received a tax break by moving company stock to a charitable organization he controls.
The employees have been pleading with Romney to use his influence to save the jobs.
"Sometimes you have to take a stand for what you believe in," said Bonnie Borman, a 23-year employee of the company who was among those arrested.
Company officials say most of the plant's revenues are generated in Asia, making the move a logical decision.
Arrested along with Jackson were Bishop Tavis Grant, Rockford Ald. Victory Bell-Rockford, several community members and three company employees. United Auto Workers representatives Brandon Cambell, Ted Denver and George Welitchminsky were arrested, as were Mel Turner of the United Steelworkers and Keith Kelleher of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, according to a statement from the activists.
Nine others have been arrested for protest activity at the plant in recent weeks. Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin have previously visited the workers.
The Romney campaign says President Barack Obama "has been presiding over an economy that is creating too few jobs and sending more jobs overseas." The campaign points to funds Obama has in a state-owned pension fund that contains Sensata shares.
From MSNBC TV's "The Ed Show:" Sensata Workers Protest Bain, Its Corporate Values