Chicago factory sitdown roundup: "We aren't going anywhere"
The occupation started when the company (Republic Windows) blew off negotiations. ABC news (local):
More than 200 employees occupied the factory and warehouse after company officials didn't show up at negotiations brokered by Congressman Luis Gutierrez between Republic Windows and Doors and its bank, Bank of America.
By law, companies are obligated to give employees 60 days notice and 75 days severance pay and health benefits to laid off workers. In this case, the company notified employees Tuesday that they would shut down Friday, and that no severance pay or benefits would be paid out.
And maybe Republic wanted to stiff the workers, flee, and set up shop somewhere else:
"What we've seen in the past is that when they don't want to show their books, it's because they're moving operations to another state, recapitalizing, leaving debt and a lot of pain and misery behind," Representative Gutierrez said.
Laid off worker and father of three Armando Robles says he witnessed how, as early as two weeks ago, the company began moving equipment out in the middle of the night.
Meanwhile, Bank of American got $25 billion in the bailout. The Sun-Times:
Bank of America, which received $25 billion from the government's financial bailout package, maintains it isn't responsible for Republic's financial obligations.
Sure they're responsible. Hank Paulson as good as nationalized the banking system, and Bank of America took $25 billion of our money when he did. That means that every taxpayer owns part of Bank of America. Bank of America is responsible if we say they are.
There seems to be local community support:
Lawmakers and the community are showing support for the workers.
Some have been demonstrating and bringing food.
The union also picketed BoA:
Earlier this week, they picketed Bank of America’s offices at 231 S. LaSalle St.
Maybe Hank's missing two trillion is in there? I mean, it has to be somewhere. Maybe somebody could check...
Members of Local 1110 need your support.
Make checks payable to the UE Local 1110 Solidarity Fund, and mail to:
37 S. Ashland, Chicago, IL 60607.
Messages of support can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, call UE at 312-829-8300.
Note the URL. Haw.
Finally, Jesse Jackson's going to meet with them. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know. I'd say keep it DIY and local, myself, as far as possible.
NOTE And isn't it fascinating that this is all taking place in Obama's back yard, Chicago. Whether he supports the effort, or suppresses it, will go a long way toward letting us know what kind of administration he plans.
UPDATE Incidentally, the company is a manufacturer of vinyl replacement windows. If the windows are any good, that's exactly the kind of green business we need, since they hold the heat a lot better than old, wooden windows, and there are still plenty of houses in my part of the country where the payback for replacement windows is pretty quick. So it's entirely reasonable that the company could stay in business. What I wonder is whether BoA and the management were in collusion to shutter the plant and move the operations to an anti-union state.