Laid-off Workers Occupy Factory in Chicago
Approximately 200-300 workers who are angry about getting laid off from their factory jobs at Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors occupied the building today in protest at the move.
Workers who got three days’ notice that their factory was closing down occupied the building and say they won’t go home without assurances they’ll get severance and vacation pay. By law the Chicago-based vinyl window manufacturer is required to give 60 days’ notice before shutting down its operations
The Trib’s headline writers, being ever-clever, quipped “Republic Windows closing doors.” According to the article, the company, which has been in business since 1965, told employees Wednesday that its main lender, Bank of America, had canceled its line of credit due to a severe downturn in business at the plant.
At the high point of the residential construction market, product sales to home builders totaled $30 million at the company. This year, those sales will total $6 million, said Amy Zimmerman, vice president of sales and marketing.
It’s noted that Bank of America received $25 billion from the government’s financial bailout package. However, the company said in a statement today 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.” Meanwhile, the angry workers have apparently been shoveling snow and cleaning the building.