Now this is the beggining of what I have been expecting. This summer should be interesting.
Day 2 For Workers At Shuttered Window Plant
Union Claims Bank Of America Cut Off Financing For Republic Windows And Doors
CHICAGO (AP) ― Workers who got three days' notice their factory was shutting its doors voted to occupy the building and said Saturday they won't go home without assurances they'll get severance and vacation pay they say they are owed.
In the second day of a sit-in on the factory floor that began Friday, about 200 union workers occupied the building in shifts while union leaders outside criticized a Wall Street bailout they say is leaving laborers behind.
About 50 workers sat on pallets and chairs inside the Republic Windows and Doors plant. Leah Fried, an organizer with the United Electrical Workers, said the Chicago-based vinyl window manufacturer failed to give 60 days' notice required by law before shutting down.
During the takeover, workers have been shoveling snow and cleaning the building, Fried said.
"We're doing something we haven't since the 1930s, so we're trying to make it work," Fried said.
Organizers of the action said the company can't pay employees because its creditor, Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America, won't let them. Crain's Chicago Business reported that Republic Windows' monthly sales had fallen to $2.9 million from $4 million during the past month. In a memo to the union, obtained by the business journal, Republic CEO Rich Gillman said the company had "no choice but to shut our doors."
Bank of America received $25 billion from the government's financial bailout package.
"Across cultures, religions, union and nonunion, we all say this bailout was a shame," said Richard Berg, president of Teamsters Local 743. "If this bailout should go to anything, it should go to the workers of this country."
Outside the plant, protesters wore stickers and carried signs that said, "You got bailed out, we got sold out."
Larry Spivack, regional director for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, said the peaceful action will add to Chicago's rich history in the labor movement, which includes the 1886 Haymarket affair, when Chicago laborers and anarchists gathering in a square on the city's west side drew national attention when an unidentified person threw a bomb at police.
"The history of workers is built on issues like this here today," Spivack said.
Representatives of Republic Windows did not immediately respond Saturday to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said authorities were aware of the situation and officers were patrolling the area.
Workers were angered when company officials didn't show up for a meeting Friday that had been arranged by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat, Fried said. Union officials said another meeting with the company is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
"We're going to stay here until we win justice," said Blanca Funes, 55, of Chicago, after occupying the building for several hours. Speaking in Spanish, Funes said she fears losing her home without the wages she feels she's owed. A 13-year employee of Republic, she estimated her family can make do for three months without her paycheck. Most of the factory's workers are Hispanic.
Gutierrez said Friday he wants to know why Republic abandoned shop so quickly, and he's calling on the state's labor department to investigate. The company would not comment.
Bank of America, for its part, offered this response to the situation: "Neither Bank of America nor any other third-party lender to the company has the right to control whether the company complies with applicable laws or honors its commitments to its employees."
Republic sold its Goose Island plant to the Wrigley Company in 2006, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In Argentina (I think it was there) they had the balls to take over the factories, keep producing their products, and find buyers. They'd barrackade themselves in and defend it with slingshots. They even won court cases over it. There's a documentary about it floating around. I can't remember the name but I think it was done by commie canadian Naomi Klien...
I can't imagine liking work that much and I don't want to image needing work that much.
What's REALLY funny is that Bank of America was one of the banks that got bailout help from Congress. So much for bailout money going to help the average American. You can expect more of this over the next couple of years. I wonder if the CEO of Bank of America will get his golden parachute or a really BIG pay raise for saving the bank????
salatheel, I would expect riots to start off in the larger cities some time in the spring. Later the riots would expand to medium or severely depressed cities and towns in the summer. In the fall of 2009 is then the shootings will begin and you will see a sudden spike in home invasions. By Christmas of 2009 things will be really, really bad. Don't forget to thank all the DEMOCRATS that you know for tampering with our financial institutions like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae so that this economic mess can occur. For more information, google Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to learn why Bush doesn't deserve, this one time, blame...