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Archive for Sunday, December 7, 2008

Angry, laid-off workers occupy factory

December 7, 2008

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— Workers who got three days’ notice that their factory was shutting its doors have occupied the building and say they won’t go home without assurances they’ll get severance and vacation pay.

About 250 union workers occupied the Republic Windows and Doors plant in shifts Saturday while union leaders outside criticized a Wall Street bailout they say is leaving laborers behind.

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 two-day peaceful takeover, workers have been shoveling snow and cleaning the building, Fried said.

“We’re doing something we haven’t done since the 1930s, so we’re trying to make it work,” she said, referring to a tactic most famously used in 1936-37 by General Motors factory workers in Flint, Mich., to help unionize the U.S. auto industry.

Fried said the company can’t pay its 300 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.

The company said in a statement Saturday that it isn’t responsible for Republic’s financial obligations to its employees.

“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.”

Comments

cowboy 6 years ago

Possibly they should have captured the company management prior to the occupation. Having had the unhappy opportunity to shut down two plants years ago it is not a surprise you suddenly wake up to unless you are just a frigging crook. The law is clear , and you can always reneg on the closure should you find a way out but to close on no notice is close to criminal.

lucy1 6 years ago

WOW and people were surprised and angered that Amarr hired security.

Kryptenx 6 years ago

lucy1: Where does this article confer a need for security during shut-downs? I don't see any mention of it."During the two-day peaceful takeover, workers have been shoveling snow and cleaning the building, Fried said."I must need help connecting the dots from a peaceful incident to Amarr justifiably hiring security. I'm not saying that they were or were not justified in doing so, only that this article contributes NOTHING to a debate about whether companies should hire security during shut-downs.

yellowhouse 6 years ago

Last I checked "no money" means "no Money" No money go home, means no money go home...not no money now go home and we will give you vacation and severance pay money, They should have called the president for mo' money!

janeyb 6 years ago

This is in Obama's backyard. Maybe he can use his 30 million campaign leftovers to run over and pay these people.

lucy1 6 years ago

kryptenxHEADLINEAngry, laid-off workers occupy factory. I think that about covers it. i don't think it is their plant to occupy, peacefully or not.

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