Laid-off workers occupy building

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josh
Laid-off workers occupy building

 Workers laid off from their jobs at a factory have occupied the building and are demanding assurances they'll get severance and vacation pay that they say they are owed.

"About 200 employees of Republic Windows and Doors began their sit-in Friday, the last scheduled day of the plant's operation.

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.

Workers also 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, she said.

During the peaceful takeover, workers have been shoveling snow and cleaning the building, Fried said.

"It's a rarely used tactic," Fried said. "But we're in very drastic time and the workers have taken measures necessary to win what they're owed.""

 http://tinyurl.com/5qm28o

 

abnormal

[url=http://cbs2chicago.com/local/republic.windows.sitin.2.880850.html]Another article[/url] on the same topic:

 

Quote:
Dozens of former employees of Republic Windows and Doors continued to remain at the shuttered North Side plant late Friday, saying they're being cheated.

The ex-workers say they found out only three days before Friday's closing that they would be without a job. Some of them also learned they would not get the vacation they've earned to date or the insurance coverage they were promised. 

More than 200 union workers staged a sit-in of sorts until they they got what they say is legally owed to them. 

The union says company officials told employees they were closing shop because Bank of America would no longer extend Republic its line of credit. Bank of America wouldn't confirm that due to confidentiality issues. Workers say the fact that Bank of America received $25 billion in the federal bailout makes this even more unacceptable.

"More than 300 people are working here, and what are we going to do now?" employee Vicente Rangel said. "We don't get any single benefit. They even telling us they are not guarantee our payment for the week we just worked."

"It's just miserable, everything is up in the air," worker Melvin Maclin said. "We don't know anything, no one wants to talk with us."

Union representatives say they arranged a meeting between Bank of America officials, the company and Chicago Congressman Luis Gutierrez to discuss compensation for the hundreds of employees at Republic. Gutierrez said company officials did not attend, but another meeting was slated for Monday.

Gutierrez 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 late Friday.

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."

The employees earlier Friday said they plan to stay at the plant until until they're evicted by Chicago police. Officers were called to the facility at least once Friday, but no one was forced to leave, and there were no arrests.

Republic sold its Goose Island plant to the Wrigley Company in 2006, according to the Tribune.

 It sounds like they're looking for the bank to pay the bills.  That one ain't gonna happen. 

Ken Burch Ken Burch's picture

The workers need to win on this one.  Hopefully, this will be the beginning of the great fightback.

___________________________________________________________________________________
Our Demands Most Moderate are/
We Only Want The World!
-James Connolly

Tommy_Paine

 

"The union says company officials told employees they were closing shop because Bank of America would no longer extend Republic its line of credit. Bank of America wouldn't confirm that due to confidentiality issues. Workers say the fact that Bank of America received $25 billion in the federal bailout makes this even more unacceptable."

 This points to something that isn't on the radar yet, the fact that the U.S. government has injected or will inject 700 billion into their financial institutions, and the Canadian government has injected 100 billion into ours on the pretext of allowing lending institutions less restrictive in loaning to places like Republic Windows.

Further, I don't think anyone asked GM, Chrysler and Ford why they couldn't get credit through usual sources, in light of the money the banks and other lending institutions have been given-- for this purpose.

By maintaining tight and tighter lending requirements, after these bailouts, the Financial sector is perpetrating the greatest known theft of taxpayer money ever.

josh

"President-elect Barack Obama is weighing in on behalf of workers staging a sit-in on the factory floor of their former Chicago employer to protest abruptly losing their jobs last week.

Obama told a news conference Sunday that Republic Windows and Doors should follow through on its commitments to the 200 workers, who say they won't leave the plant until they are assured they'll receive their severance and vacation pay.

"The workers who are asking for the benefits and payments that they have earned, I think they're absolutely right and understand that what's happening to them is reflective of what's happening across this economy," Obama said."

http://tinyurl.com/6azcds

 

Michelle

Thanks, Obama.  Now, how about a few words about the banks that YOU wanted to bail out in order to get them to lend money to medium-sized companies like this one, and who aren't doing that?

Pretty words aren't enough, Chief. They don't give a shit if you "feel their pain."

abnormal

Quote:
...how about a few words about the banks that YOU wanted to bail out in order to get them to lend money to medium-sized companies like this one...

 Not like this one.  This company sounds like it's toast regardless - if they are so dependent on short term borrowing that they can't even meet a couple of months of payroll in its absense there is no way they are going to survive through months (or years) of a recession/depression.  Unless you believe the solution to the credit crunch is to loan money to someone that can't pay it back...

The reality is that, if banks make loans to bad credits and lose the funds that the Feds just gave them and end up in troubles again the banks are the ones that are going to be blamed for making dubious loans. 

The situation with the auto makers is quite different.  They are not asking for a bank or banks to lend them money.  They're asking for the Feds to do it directly.  No middle man who's going to be held responsible if/when any or all of the Big Three end up in Chapter 11 and/or Chapter 7.

Back to the case under discussion - if somebody wants to bail out a company that's in truly bad shape the funds should go directly there, not to a third party (in this case the banks) who will ultimately be held responsible for what happens to those funds. 

Sarann

In Argentina the workers took  ownership of the plants shut down and ran them themselves as cooperatives. 

It's Me D

Sarann wrote:
In Argentina the workers took ownership of the plants shut down and ran them themselves as cooperatives.

Yeah thats what I was thinking; are these workers going to actually run the plant they've occupied? Or are they just sitting on it in the hopes the bank will come to their rescue? The difference is relevant to my level of hope for us all Undecided

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:
Quote:
___________________________________________________________________________________________ From North of Manifest Destiny

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Quote:
OCCUPY RESIST AND PRODUCE

A slogan for our times 

Quote:
___________________________________________________________________________________________ From North of Manifest Destiny

It's Me D

Having problems with quotations Kropotkin?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

%#&*%^$#@)*&   YES

 

It's Me D wrote:
Having problems with quotations Kropotkin?
__________________________________________________________________________ I was Going to Not Have a Tagline but Since M.Spector likes them so Much I decided to Keep It Just To Please Him.

josh

"With cheers and chants that echoed President-elect Barack Obama's campaign of change, jubilant workers agreed to a $1.75 million settlement that ends their six-day occupation of a shuttered Chicago factory that became a symbol of the plight of labor nationwide.

Republic Windows & Doors, union leaders and Bank of America reached the deal Wednesday evening. Each former Republic employee will get eight weeks' salary, all accrued vacation pay and two months' paid health care, said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who helped broker the deal. He said it works out to about $7,000 apiece."

http://tinyurl.com/5wbtfj

 

It's Me D

Yeah! In under two months the workers will be just as screwed as before... only now they won't have a factory.

I still have a little hope that this will inspire others but really when all you do is sit on the factory and wait for a handout its little more than extortion.

I really wanted to see this wind up like Argentina but I guess thats to much to expect; it goes against the grain of how American workers are trained to think about the world and their place in it. 

KeyStone

Well, this was a one-off solution, but it doesn't address the bigger issue which will happen more and more often as companies go bankrupt.

 
When a company goes bankrupt, there is an order that the debt is paid. I can't remember exactly, but I think preferred sharehodlers, are at the top of the list, as well as secured loans.

What needs to change, is that the workers need to be put on that list, right after secured loans. I know it seems odd that I would put secured loans first, but without that, collateral wouldn't mean anything.

It's Me D

KeyStone wrote:
What needs to change, is that the workers need to be put on that list, right after secured loans. I know it seems odd that I would put secured loans first, but without that, collateral wouldn't mean anything.

For many years I've heard the NDP propose putting workers first when companies go under. That still doesn't provide a long-term solution though. The solution is to kick our manufactured dependancy on the bosses.