- Posted December 1, 2012 by
Freeport Sensata Workers Forgotten after election
Now that the election is over, the small town of Freeport, Illinois and its problems are all but forgotten. Just because it is no longer a pawn in the election games doesn't mean that it isn't still suffering from the loss of the Sensata jobs. One aspect of this story which was overlooked even as the media camped out at the Sensata plant during those pre-elections days. Many of those that lost their jobs through the Sensata plant closing in Freeport, Illinois were contract workers otherwise known as temp workers.
These workers were hired through temp agencies such as Manpower and Hughes Resources. Many of these workers worked along side the full time Sensata employees for years. Doing the exact same jobs, working the same long hours, at much less pay with no benefits. When the plant closed these contract workers received nothing for their time as a loyal employees: just a call saying don't come into work tomorrow.
That is just the beginning of the story; however.
These contract employees are now being denied unemployment benefits. An Illinois Department of Employment Security, IDES, representatives told one of former Sensata workers that Hughes Resources, a local temp agency, is the worst place to work for if you're getting laid off. The Hughes workers have to fight for their unemployment unlike those that worked directly for Sensata or even the Manpower contractors. Hughes Resources is working hard to keep these workers from receiving their unemployment checks. Even if a Hughes contractor jumps through all the hoops that Hughes sets forth for them, Hughes sends correspondence to the employment office stating that the contractor is not actively looking for work or turning down jobs. Hughes will offer jobs that it knows that the worker is unable to accept, then tell the employment office that the worker is turning down work. The worker is not allowed to look for work outside the Hughes office, it doesn't count as looking for work by IDES. These people are trapped in a vicious cycle. If they leave Hughes, to find work they lose employment benefits while they look. If they stay, Hughes finds a way to avoid paying unemployment by manipulating the system.
Now that the election is over, no one cares or remembers the Sensata workers. However, Americans need to take a moment to find how these workers are being treated. Just because famous politicians are protesting in the street. Doesn't mean the the threat to the American worker is over. The workers are afraid to even speak out. Afraid that they'll lose their chance to get a new job.