Just a few days before the first 2012 presidential debate between President Obama and Gov. Romney, more reports of Romney's involvement with Chinese companies are surfacing.
Brookside Capital Partners Fund, a Bain Capital affiliate, filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on April 17, 1998 stating it had purchased 748,000 shares of Global Tech stock. The report also says: "Brookside Investors acts by and through its general partner, Brookside Inc. Mr. W. Mitt Romney is the sole shareholder, sole director, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookside Inc. and thus is the controlling person of Brookside Inc. No person other than the respective owner referred to herein of shares of Common Stock is known to have the right to receive or the power to direct the receipt of dividends from or the proceeds from the sale of such shares of Common Stock."
Romney has stated that his "retroactive" resignation from Bain took place in February 1999, nine months after the acquisition of the Global Tech stock.
According to a Boston Globe investigation, on April 8, 1998, nine days prior to Brookside's stock purchase, Global Tech issued a prospectus which stated it used “inexpensive labor,” and that it's location in China meant “an overall effective tax rate that may be less than that of US corporations.” [Current operations are not subject to] material US taxes because it should not be considered to have significant income effectively connected with a trade or business in the US.”
The prospectus also stated that working conditions included 6 day work weeks with 10 hour shifts during peak production periods at the metal stamping department.
An Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights describes the working and living conditions at Global Tech as a "sweatshop". The report says twelve workers share a dorm room and wash by using small plastic buckets to fetch water, which they splash on themselves, standing next to the toilet in a small bathroom. High school age individuals must work 15 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week.
In February 1998, during a panel discussion at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, Romney talked about touring a factory in China. During that panel discussion he stated“I just came back from a trip to China, and I went to a factory of 5,000 workers making bread makers and mixers and so forth. And 5,000 Chinese, all graduated from high school, 18 to 24 years old, were working, working, working, as hard as they could, at rates of roughly 50 cents an hour. They cared about their jobs; they wouldn’t even look up as we walked by.”
Global Tech employs roughly 5,700 people.
Mother Jones reports that Global Tech stated its strategy was to profit from prominent US companies outsourcing production abroad.
On September 4, 1998, Global Tech issued a statement saying it would postpone completion of the expansion of its manufacturing facility in Dongguan, China because the increased orders expected from Sunbeam Corporation have not been received and are not expected for the foreseeable future. Global Tech believes that Sunbeam is currently unlikely to increase outsourcing of its products due to its recent announcement that it is seeking to reduce large product inventories. Additionally, Sunbeam is delaying the closing of its own plants.
The Obama campaign is already airing a commercial regarding Romney's involvement with Global Tech.