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Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 at 11:10 AM
Bank of America, founded in California, has pressured Republic Windows to withhold paychecks from workers, AFTER gettinga 45 bil bailout from our taxes.
FROM THE UE WEBSITE:
UE Local 1110 members in Chicago, employees at Republic Windows and Doors have occupied their workplace since Friday night in a courageous bid to win what they are owed and to save their jobs.
Only a couple days earlier, they had learned the plant would be closing Friday as Bank of America, flush with U.S. government bailout cash, had refused to extend Republic's line of credit. They found out the bank had also refused to allow Republic to pay them what they were owed.
They realized their only real chance at winning a measure of fairness would be to guard, and guarantee the safety, of the only asset at their disposal — their workplace.
A World of Support
Since then, worldwide support has poured in as the news of a plant sitdown — rarely seen in the U.S. since the 1930s — spread like wildfire. By early Monday morning, a Google news search found nearly 1,500 story references. One Facebook group grew from 800 to 2,400 members between noon and midnight Sunday.
Working people, caught in the turmoil of the current economic crisis have found new hope in the actions of these UE members. And, that's not gone unnoticed.
Politicians, including president-elect Barack Obama, members of Congress, members of the Illinois legislature, Chicago city officials and civil rights leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson have all voiced their support for this fight. We hope you will, too.
[ed. you can donate to them at the site]
CHICAGO INDYMEDIA COVERATE
by DR, CG, CIMC
Chicago Workers Occupy FactoryThe worker occupation of the Republic Windows and Doors factory on Chicago's Goose Island by members of UE (United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America) Local 1110 went into its third day on Sunday, and workers have vowed to continue the occupation until they are paid back pay and benefits, or until the plant is re-opened.
The occupation was declared on Friday, the day the company moved to shutter the plant with only three days notice — in violation of federal and state labor laws. Owners have also cut off employees' insurance and failed to pay back pay. The takeover has sparked a groundswell of support across the nation, with rallies, e-mail campaigns, petition drives, fundraisers and plans for future actions. [ Updated news links ]
Company management blames the shut-down on Bank of America, which cut their credit line — after BoA received billion in federal bailout money that the bank said they did not need. Since the bailout began, BoA — like big banks across the globe — has slashed credit lines to businesses, forcing a growing number of small and medium-sized companies to shut down. Workers plan to meet with company and bank representatives on Monday — and to picket BoA's LaSalle St. offices on Tuesday if Republic's line of credit is not restored.
The action at Republic Windows comes on the heels of a drive to kick out the company union, which had colluded with company owners and management for years. That effort succeeded after three years of struggle. Republic Windows' worker occupation is one of the first actions of its kind in the United States since the Great Depression, when a wave of sit-in strikes and factory occupations marked one of the most militant phases in U.S. labor history.
This is the greatest upswell of support for workers since the 2003 grocery workers' strike.
It highlights the sick dynamic that is not only sinking the economy, but rescuing the portfolios of the wealthy, by stealing it from the poor, working class, and middle class people who helped get them rich in the first place.
Wall Streeters invented the derivatives, and then pegged them on to the fast-rising house prices of the 90s and 00s. Then, as stock markets, commodity markets and other markets collapsed as their speculative bubbles popped, more capital was funneled into derivatives tied to the housing market. When the housing bubble popped, the house of cards fell down.
Their portfolios lost not only the mortgage profits, but the trillions of dollars of derivatives that depended on the value of houses rising forever.
Ben Bernanke, a student of the Great Depression, believed that the Depression was due to banks not lending money out to businesses -- a liquidity crisis. He and Hank Paulson had an idea -- if the government could help the banks out, they would prevent a liquidity crisis, and keep us from falling into a depression.
The banks have failed in their responsibility.
They are hoarding the money, waiting for our situation to degrade to the point where they can feel comfortable using OUR money to buy OUR foreclosed houses and "invest" in ways to get US out of unemployment.
Most of these workers will be out of a job, because the demand for windows is gone. But, the banks should NOT BE ALLOWED to withhold their pay. These workers are OWED. And the banks should not be allowed to pick and choose which businesses they lend money to when it involves wages. Pay the wages, even if the company can't pay the bank back. I'd bet even money that the Bank of America have an idea of what competing window factory might buy up the remnants of this window company.
Maybe while we're at it, we can take that bailout money back.
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||Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 at 11:34 AM
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