Quick Hit: Chicago workers win victory

Via Veronica at Nuestra Vida, Nuestra Voz:

After a five-day sit-in at a Chicago window and door factory, workers declared victory as the Bank of America decided to extend credit to Republic Windows and Doors.
The factory was slated to close when the Bank of America refused to continue credit to Republic Windows and Doors, a manufacturer of energy-efficient doors and windows, which would have not only put 300 people out of work and the benefits (including health care) that went along with it, but denied the workers the compensation and earned vacation and severance to which they were entitled. This is despite Bank of America having received millions of dollars in the financial bailout for the exact purpose of being able to give loans and credits to businesses. Since the bailout was highly unregulated, however, what many banks are choosing to do with their money is to simply sit on it, and are refusing to give small businesses credit at the cost, in this case, of hundreds of working-class jobs. The workers, however, who were part of the United Electrical Workers Union, occupied the factory and refused to leave until their demands were met.

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10 Comments

  1. OuyangDan
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Obvious statement, but I like good news.

  2. ottermatic.wordpress.com
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I just spent my lunch hour at a huge rally in front of a central BofA location in Chicago in support of the workers, and all reports at the time were that the workers still occupied the plant and the situation was far from over.

  3. ktboo11
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m ecstatic to see people organize successfully against the banks and governmental incompetence.
    The politicians have done a horrible job with helping average Americans like these workers throughout the recession. I think it’s obvious that the bailout has been a tremendous failure so far. Congress keeps throwing taxpayer’s money at corporate America with little or no regulations involved, and so, of course, nothing productive is getting done.
    I hope people continue to support the workers and other grassroots movements to make sure the government actually does its job and protects average citizens from losing their homes, jobs, and health-care.

  4. hfs
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    So I didn’t RTFA, but this makes no sense to me. The workers occupy the factory to get the insolvent company to pay them. Then when BoA agrees to make loans to the company. Presumably management convinced them the company was actually creditworthy. How does workers occupying the factory help in that process?

  5. MzBitca
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    I think it originally started because the company wasn’t going to pay for the benefits. Then they went to BOA and they refused. The sit-in then became a way to highlight the fact that the banks are not doing what they are supposed to do with the bailout money, which is use it to give people loans to help stimulate the economy.
    In the same viein, A congresswoman from New York was on the radio today saying that the car dealerships in her areas have been coming to her saying that they have people that want to purchase cars but the banks (which received bailout money for this purchase) are not giving people credit and rates that they can afford.

  6. noalarms
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    The sit-in put pressure on BoA to issue credit to Republic. The reason the company was firing the workers was because they no longer could get credit; BoA did not even want to give Republic enough credit to pay out vacation and worker’s comp, and instructed the company to refuse these payouts. BoA gave in due to political pressure, not because of Republic’s credit-worthiness.

  7. tnewms
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Please update this post. NO AGREEMENT has been reached yet: http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=435. Please keep up the solidarity — ideas for action are here: http://www.ueunion.org/ue_republic.html

  8. bifemmefatale
    Posted December 10, 2008 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Even fishier is the story I heard on NPR that apparently the company is in the middle of opening a new plant in Iowa. So obviously they do have the money somewhere. It sounds like they were trying to make BoA the bad guy to cover their own behinds.
    Hurray and about f-ing time for workers to rise up and refuse to roll over. America needs a renewed labor movement.

  9. bifemmefatale
    Posted December 11, 2008 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    True victory!
    http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=438
    After the conclusion of negotiations Wednesday evening, the membership of Local 1110, more than 200 workers, met in the plant cafeteria to hear and consider the tentative settlement that had been worked out by UE negotiators over the past three days.
    The settlement was approved by a unanimous vote.
    Kingsley then announced the creation of a new foundation, dedicated to reopening the plant. It will be initiated with seed money from the UE national union and the thousands of dollars of donations to the UE Local 1110 Solidarity Fund that have come in from across the country and around the world in just the past five days.
    Melvin Maclin of Local 1110 announced the name of the foundation, which was chosen by the workers themselves: the Window of Opportunity Fund. Maclin said that the fund will be open to receive donations from all friends of the Republic workers and supporters of their struggle.
    Rosen introduced U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, praising the congressman for his tireless work in behalf of the Republic workers and indispensable role in bringing about the settlement. Gutierrez spoke at some length, and then introduced David Rudis, Illinois State President, Bank of America. In a statement to reporters, Rep. Gutierrez said, “This money will only be used to pay the workers the benefits they are owed under the law, and it will not under any circumstance be used for corporate bonuses, luxury cars or any other perk for the owners of the plant.”
    Hurray for worker solidarity!!!

  10. Frenchwoman
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Again, though, as with networking, we must be aware of double-edged qualities. There can be too much social capital, when it crowds people in, when tradition is too strong, when it curtails being open.
    What cities have an intellectual capital development programme as distinct from an education programme? We know attracting and having access to knowledge and imagination is the key to urban success. Important as formal education is, much of this talent will be nurtured in settings that have nothing to do with education.
    Thus our perspective on how talent is generated should go well beyond educational institutions. Furthermore, what are the language capacities of your citizens? How many speak a second or third language and use these in trade and business?

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