Archive for Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gov. joins sit-in against bank

Chicago protest has become symbol of workers’ plight in economic crisis

December 9, 2008


Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered all state agencies Monday to stop doing business with Bank of America to try to pressure the bank into helping laid-off workers staging a sit-in at their shuttered factory.

The governor wants the North Carolina-based bank to use some of its federal bailout money to resolve the protest by about 200 workers at Republic Windows and Doors.

The sit-in began Friday and has fast become a symbol of the sour economy’s impact on labor. The workers have promised to remain inside the plant in shifts until they get assurances they will receive severance and vacation pay.

“We hope that this kind of leverage and pressure will encourage Bank of America to do the right thing for this business,” Blagojevich said from outside the plant. “Take some of that federal tax money that they’ve received and invest it by providing the necessary credit to this company so these workers can keep their jobs.”

Republic has not made a move to evict the workers since they began the sit-in Friday, the day they lost their jobs with just a few days’ notice.

Their plight has drawn support from President-elect Barack Obama, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others.

“We’re going strong,” Leah Fried, an organizer for the United Electrical Workers union, said earlier Monday. “We’re not going anywhere until there’s resolution.”

Fried said the company told the union that Bank of America canceled its financing. Bank of America said Saturday it wasn’t responsible for Republic’s financial obligations to its employees.

A Bank of America spokesman said she could not comment, but that the company was preparing a response. Republic officials have not returned messages for comment.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez said Republic representatives would meet with union and bank officials.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said from the shuttered plant that he would talk to fellow senators about reminding banks that taxpayer dollars are not for dividends or executive salaries.

“We have been sending billions of dollars to banks like Bank of America and the reason we have sent them the money is to tell them that they had to loan this money out to companies just like Republic so that we can keep these companies in business and not lose these jobs here in the United States,” he said.

The governor, meanwhile, said the state plans to pursue a court injunction today to make sure federal law is followed in giving workers benefits. And state Attorney General Lisa Madigan was investigating the company.

The laid-off workers are occupying the plant around-the-clock in eight-hour shifts, Fried said. About 60 were inside early Monday.

Obama said Sunday the company should honor its commitments to the laid-off employees.

“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.

One of the workers, Silvia Mazon, said in Spanish that she needs the money owed to her for an $1,800 monthly house payment. The 40-year-old Cicero resident said she has enough money saved to survive for one month.

“We’re making history,” she said.


Left_handed 9 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, I guess he won't be joining in any more sit-ins for a while. And just look at how closely he's connected to President-Elect Obama.

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 4 months ago

Yes, if you bother to read the complaint against him, you can clearly see how close the two are. I called my mother a few of those names yesterday. She had a stroke, but she felt better when I explained that I was just expressing how close I felt to her.

janeyb 9 years, 4 months ago

Tony Rezko raised campaign money for both Obama andBlagojevich.Blagojevich talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director’s fees. Wasn't Michele Obama sitting on corporate boards?

kidicarus 9 years, 4 months ago

And the whack jobs are out in full force. Even the Special Prosecutors are saying the two are in no way connected. I'm guessing that nothing on earth could make the above posters believe that Obama had nothing to do with this.

janeyb 9 years, 4 months ago

Michelle was sitting on six boards of directors when Barack announced his run for the presidency. She was paid up to $60,000/year for Treehouse Foods, but had to give it up when her husband started criticizing Walmart and Treehouse is one of its main suppliers. The best one is Susan Bayh, wife of Indiana Sen Evan Bayh. In 2007 she made 837,000 sitting on seven boards of directors. Maybe it isn't only campaign financing that needs to be addressed. No wonder the Illinois gov. wanted some of the action.

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 4 months ago

kidicarus,It is the usual band of misfits. They have one thing in common, they are known liars and failures as Americans and could care less about any facts.They are to be pitied, not responded to.

Kyle Reed 9 years, 4 months ago

Hahaha...I bet they are REALLY happy that idiot decided to chime in on their behalf right before he was picked up by the FBI. Classic!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

If the guy had any smarts, he'd have just appointed his wife, or himself, senator for the remaining two years, and they'd have gotten a pretty sweet lifetime pension plus misc. perks.I wonder if he could still do that. Even though he's in jail, he's still the gov.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

I expect that at least one of them tipped off the feds, don't you, mike?

classclown 9 years, 4 months ago

What surprises me is that anyone is surprised at the idea of corruption in the state of Illinois AKA North Louisiana. It's S.O.P.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

Sounds like it was more of an attempted shakedown than a negotiation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

Your wishful thinking will probably get as far as the suit contending that Obama isn't a natural born US citizen, Larry.

geekin_topekan 9 years, 4 months ago

This is evidence of the new administration for sure,.Anyone implicating any other admin would possibly be "disappeared" and we'd never hear about it!

maxcrabb 9 years, 4 months ago

I just wish Au Marche would start advertising in english!I mean, what do you people do over there anyway?...what were we talking about?

BigPrune 9 years, 4 months ago

According to ABC News....On November 23, 2008, Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod appeared on Fox News Chicago and said that the President-elect had not expressed a favorite to replace him, and his inclination was to avoid being a "kingmaker," Axelrod said, "I know he's talked to the governor and there are a whole range of names many of which have surfaced, and I think he has a fondness for a lot of them."President-elect Obama today said "I had no contact with the governor or his office and so we were not, I was not aware of what was happening." I smell a liar.

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