[Marxism] Workers Occupy Chicago Factory! - Need Support!

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Dec 6 18:43:27 MST 2008


from PORTSIDE:

Workers Occupy Factory! Need Your Immediate Support!

[Photo: http://tinyurl.com/6abbb6]

CHICAGO

Yesterday, Friday December 5th, the workers of Republic Windows and
Doors occupied their factory, which was due to close at 10:00 AM. The
workers are fighting for pay for their lost vacation days and for the
75 days notice that they are guaranteed under Illinois law. This is
the first time in many years workers have taken the bold, militant
strategy of occupying their place of work to demand justice. The plan
to occupy the plant until the hear the results of the next round of
negotiations Monday afternoon. They need to know they have our
support!

A prayer vigil has been planned for 12:00 Noon, Saturday December
6th. Please attend. But we should organize a constant presence of
community members picketing outside the factory! Bring food and
coffee for the workers. It is our presence and the press that is the
workers best defense against the police raiding the factory.

These workers are fighting for all of us!!! As the economic crisis
deepens we need to launch a working class fight back. These workers
are the starting point and deserve our full support.

Go to:

Republic Windows & Doors 1333 N. Hickory

On Goose Island, near the intersection of Division & Clybourn

(Message written by Jerry Mead-Lucero, www.laborexpress.org)

FROM UNITED ELECTRICAL, RADIO AND MACHINE WORKERS OF AMERICA:

UE Members in Chicago Occupy Plant in Struggle for Justice

December 6, 2008

Chicago, IL

National television news networks CNN News and Fox are running
reports on the following story involving the UE members in Chicago...

Members of UE Local 1110 who work at Republic Windows and Doors in
Chicago have been forced to resort to drastic action to try to force
their employer to meet its obligations to the workforce.

Several national news media outlets have covered this fast-developing
story; several links are provided below. More news to follow as it
becomes available...


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-il-workersoccupyfact,0,1928458.story

http://www.france24.com/en/20081206-laid-off-workers-furious-bank-pulls-chicago-plants-credit

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/republic-windows-doors-120508.html

Several Chicago television stations have covered the story also, and
you will find these stories by visiting the web pages and local news
sections of WGN and CBS2.

BACKGROUND

Idled workers occupy factory in Chicago
By RUPA SHENOY | Associated Press Writer
Chicago Tribune December 6, 2008

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ap-il-workersoccupyfact,0,1928458.story

CHICAGO

Workers who got three days' notice their factory was shutting its
doors voted to occupy the building and say they won't go home without
assurances they'll get severance and vacation pay they say they are
owed.

In the second day of a sit-in on the factory floor Saturday, about
200 union workers occupied the building in shifts while union leaders
outside criticized a Wall Street bailout they say is leaving laborers
behind.

About 50 workers sat on pallets and chairs inside the Republic
Windows and Doors plant. 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 takeover, workers have been shoveling snow and cleaning
the building, Fried said.

"We're doing something we haven't since the 1930s, so we're trying to
make it work," Fried said.

Organizers of the action said the company can't pay 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.

"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 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.

Representatives of Republic Windows did not immediately respond
Saturday to calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said authorities were aware of the
situation and officers were patrolling the area.

Workers were angered when company officials didn't show up for a
meeting Friday that had been arranged by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a
Chicago Democrat, Fried said. Union officials said another meeting
with the company is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

"We're going to stay here until we win justice," said Blanca Funes,
55, of Chicago, after occupying the building for several hours.
Speaking in Spanish, Funes said she fears losing her home without the
wages she feels she's owed. A 13-year employee of Republic, she
estimated her family can make do for three months without her
paycheck. Most of the factory's workers are Hispanic.


=========================================
     WALTER LIPPMANN
     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CubaNews/
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"
=========================================




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