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Workers At Republic Windows Show Spunk As They Fight Corporate Wrong

December 7, 2008

The story from north Chicago is nothing short of inspiring.  And if the workers succeed with their demands during the sit-in at Republic Windows, it will be interesting to see what the ripple effect will have in others places where workers are taken advantage of by corporate greed and short-sighted financial institutions.

Some 260 workers found out Friday that their jobs were done…over…finished…and were asked to exit the window and door business.  Federal law says that 60 days notice must be issued prior to a closing.  In addition the union is questioning why after the federal bailout the bank dealing with the company cancelled their line of credit.

Workers need to be more vigilant about their rights.  This is an example of the spunk and spine that I applaud.  We should all be with the workers in spirit as they continue their sit-in at Republic Windows.

Carrying signs that read “Bank of America: Don’t Steal Christmas,” workers at a North Side manufacturer continued their protest Saturday after the company shut its doors on three days’ notice because the bank canceled its line of credit.

Republic Windows & Doors closed Friday after being in business since 1965. Members of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, which represents 260 workers at the company’s Goose Island plant, have taken shifts at a sit-in at the plant, 1333 N. Hickory Ave., since Friday.

The union said the bank is not letting the company pay workers their vacation and severance pay. In addition, the union said they were not given 60 days’ notice of a mass layoff, as required by federal law.

“They’re throwing people out on the street with three days’ notice, penniless,” said Leah Fried, an organizer with United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers.

The company told employees Tuesday that its main lender, Bank of America, had canceled its line of credit because of a severe downturn in business at the plant.Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), who accused the company of knowing the plant was going to close long before last week’s announcement to avoid paying workers for the days they are owed under federal law.

Members of several unions attended Saturday’s sit-in as well as Rep.

“I don’t believe somebody woke up on Tuesday and simply decided to shut the doors,” Gutierrez said.

Representatives of Republic Windows & Doors could not be reached for comment Saturday. Bank of America said in a statement that it isn’t responsible for Republic’s financial obligations to its employees.

2 Comments
  1. December 7, 2008 1:25 PM

    Gerry,

    I do!!!

    And I love your thoughts, and that is exactly where we need to head with these types of plants and displaced workers.

  2. Gerry permalink
    December 7, 2008 1:03 PM

    Yeah! We should all support the Republic workers…but how? Will it be a victory if they get some severance pay but are still out of a job? What if they held and re-tooled the factory as a community resource? What if they could build small houses for recently foreclosed families? What else could they do there that wouldn’t depend on the crumbling economy but would still keep them “in business”? See where I’m going…?

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