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Obama Supports Workers At Republic Windows And Doors

December 8, 2008

The support of Barack Obama for the workers over the matter at Republic Windows in Chicago is a refreshing sign of change, given the short straw that workers received under the Bush Administration.  It is a clear sign that elections matter.

The sit-in by the workers following  a three-day notice on Friday that their jobs were over, was a chilling display of corporate greed, while underscoring the harshness by Bank of America, the lender for the company. 

President-Elect Obama made the following points on Sunday.

No. 1, I think that these workers, if they have earned these benefits and their pay, then these companies need to follow through on those commitments,” Obama said during a news conference Sunday.

“And No. 2, I think it is important for us to make sure that, moving forward, any economic plan that we put in place helps businesses to meet payroll so that we’re not seeing these kinds of circumstances again.”

To underscore the feelings of the political world for this business, Illinois’ Governor has lowered the boom.

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Monday that the state will temporarily suspend doing business with Bank of America in an act of support for protesting factory workers who were abruptly laid off Friday.

“How come it’s OK for some of these banks who have messed things up in a significant, substantial way that it’s trickled down to impact the lives of ordinary, average Illinoisans and ordinary, average Americans who every day work?” Blagojevich said.

“Somehow, these workers always end up on the bottom. It’s wrong,” he said. “And if the taxpayers who do all the work in our country have already been asked to bail out these big banks, then we expect those big banks to bail out businesses like this … to keep these workers working.”

Workers said Republic officials told them that Bank of America had cut off credit to the company. Workers were given three days’ notice that they were losing their jobs, but federal law requires either 60 days’ notice or 60 days’ pay for the laid-off workers. They are protesting, in part, over vacation and severance pay they say they are owed.

The union rightfully places blame on Bank of America.

Bank of America says the company has walked away and ignored its obligation to the workers. But union leaders say that since the bank received $25 billion in taxpayer funds as part of the U.S. Treasury’s efforts to stabilize the financial markets, it should step in where the company has failed.

“These people would be out on the street three weeks before Christmas with nothing,” national union representative Mark Meinster said. “But what’s happened here is workers have decided to stand up and say no, enough is enough. You got that big bailout — you can make sure we get the money we’re owed and say, ‘No, enough is enough.’

  1. December 10, 2008 12:38 AM

    Kyle –
    Go in the dictionary and look up “xenophobia” and then compare it to the definition of “illegal” and do come back and explain exactly what relationship they share.

    What is ugly, actually, is the phrase “the bank caved”. It is because banks have been caving, both to greed and to the demands of litigious ACORN whores, that we find ourselves in foreclosure hell, producing yet even more “workers” who will be sucking on that big fat government teat.

  2. kyle permalink
    December 9, 2008 4:56 PM

    The bank caved and the workers will get help. This sit in was proper and hopefully be the start of a movement. I also think that xenophobia is so ugly as shown by others here.

  3. December 9, 2008 2:00 PM

    @ dekerivers
    Yes, but, I am a legal citizen sweetie. And it’s Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays, but hey, in the spirit of the season, I’ll forgive you your idiocy. No, on second thought, I won’t waste the spirit of the season (nor an iota of charm) on you. Just go get your little do-gooder hat on and go help Jessie Jackson pass out turkeys. Maybe if you are real nice to the poor deprived workers, Obama will give you brownie points on your Socialist Progress Report.

  4. December 9, 2008 12:53 PM


    Unless you are native American, then you too have immigrant roots.

    As to your charm over this matter……Happy Holidays!

  5. December 9, 2008 12:27 PM

    I think immigration should see how many of the “workers” trespassing over at at Republic are eligible for deportation. The rest of these malcontents can either get the hell off of Republic property and go look for another job or be arrested.

  6. December 9, 2008 2:53 AM

    Being from the deep end of socialist Europe I wouldn’t be too fast with praising the unions position on this one. Or other matters for what it’s worth…

    The bailout to the banks, as wrong as it was, was not meant to be used as a blanked to cover other failing companies that are going under.

    What you are asking the B of A to do is to act like it’s a part of the government and give away taxpayers money to cover the debt of a company. It’s just wrong.

  7. anne permalink
    December 9, 2008 1:51 AM

    I am just glad that the union-haters no longer have a friend in the White House and like Deke think that this is a time for unions to show some spunk.

  8. December 9, 2008 12:32 AM

    And how much are the Union employees getting paid? How many of them are working 40 hours a week when there’s not 40 hours a week worth of work to complete? How many are getting company-paid pensions and a 401k match? Are Republic’s competitors unionized? In this day and age, the new trend seems to be Unions teaming up with employers to point the finger at other people.

  9. JJE permalink
    December 8, 2008 11:38 PM

    I totally agree – the point of the bailout package was not to give money to companies so that they can pay employees and then go out of business – it is so they have a chance at survival if they can weather the storm! You don’t throw good money after bad! stick to your guns B of A.

  10. Patrick permalink
    December 8, 2008 8:00 PM

    Didn’t we get into this mess when Banks loaned money to firms or individuals who were unable to pay the money back. Before you blame Bank of America–which is the easy thing to do–perhaps you should look deeper into the finances of Republic windows. What were their recent sales figures? Why wouldn’t the company make decisions necessary to secure payroll first? If Republic Windows was unable to continue making payments, why would giving them taxpayer money the right thing to do?

    A business screws up, goes under, and you want to blame the bank? Sounds like crap to me.

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