Saturday, December 6, 2008
Laid Off Workers Occupy Chicago Factory
Two hundred and fifty United Electrical Union workers have occupied a Chicago vinyl window factory since Friday. Today hundreds of supporters protested outside the plant in solidarity. The actions took place after the manufacturer failed to give its employees the 60 days' notice required by law before closing down.1,2
Workers are only asking for vacation and severance pay due them. According to the CEO of Republic Windows and Doors, its creditor Bank of America refused to allow Republic from paying its employees. It is notable that B of A recently received a $25 Billion bailout from the US Treasury (aka the People).
From AP's Rupa Shenoy:2
"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."
Larry Spivack, regional director for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, said the peaceful action will add to Chicago's rich history in the labor movement, which includes the deadly 1886 Haymarket affair, when Chicago laborers and anarchists gathering in a square on the city's West Side drew national attention when an unidentified person threw a bomb at police.
"The history of workers is built on issues like this here today," Spivack said.