Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 10, 2008

Why Don’t I Pay The Republic Windows Workers What They’re Due?

I thought I’d share this exchange I had with a commenter on another blog (ok, the Huffington Post, lol). I had posted my thought that some government entity should step forward to pay the Republic Windows workers what they’re owed while the mess is being sorted out. Get the workers their money so they can go home and have their holiday. The commenter, named Overdog, asked me, “Why don’t YOU pay them?” Meaning me. Good question. Here’s how I responded:

Actually, Overdog, that’s a good suggestion. If I had it – someone floated $1.5 million as the amount needed – I would. Just imagine if some wealthy benefactor OR government entity stepped in – on Day 2 or Day 3 – and did what you ask of me: pay them. What a gesture that would be!

In other words, put up the funds needed to pay the workers what they are due (and the fact that they ARE due a certain amount is apparently not arguable), while all the “negotiating” and investigating is going on about whether Republic actually had the funds to pay them but funnelled that into the new company, Echo Windows LLC; or whether BofA should extend credit by the amount needed (that Republic would then be obligated to pay back to BofA….or whatever legal solution was required to pay the workers WHAT THEY ARE DUE. Then, once the determination of responsibility has been resolved, the benefactor or government entity becomes the note-holder and collects the money.

In normal times, the workers would have a grievance that might have to be handled normally. In THIS economy, more drastic action is required. Plus, it’s the holidays.

If I had it, I’d wrap it up in a big box with a big red bow and drop it off at the doorstep of the factory, knock on the door, then hide behind a car to watch it be received, with just a simple note attached: “Merry Christmas”

Hope I was clear: a) that I don’t have $1.5 million lying around. Madonna, are you listening? Beyonce? Brad Pitt? Bruuuuuce? Hellooooo… b) that the workers shouldn’t be caught in the middle while every other group is getting bailed out (the Big Three auto companies, at this very moment!).



  1. Employers trying to screw employees out of what is owed them is not new. In October I was laid off along with close to 700 other employees at my law firm – and no, I am not an attorney. Just someone who wiped attorney butt all day.

    Just like Republic they won’t pay accrued vacation (I am sitting on over 225 hours) or the WARN Act monies as required by law. You’d think that lawyers would know what laws to follow and not to break! At least 300 of us have not found new employment in this economy and are looking forward to Crappy Holidays thanks to Heller Ehrman as well as Bank of America and Citibank who are making decisions not to pay us.

  2. What a very cool idea you have here. I don’t have the $$$ lying around either, but if I did I’d tell the workers to have a great December but plan on being back TO WORK on, say, January 5th. In between now and then I’d be lining up new equipment, needed raw materials and a new line of credit and have everything ready when the workers returned. By then I would have already empowered my management team from within the employee group, many of whom have already displayed outstanding leadership skills. I believe this company – unlike many receiving massive bailout $$$ – would return to profitability very quickly, regardless of the state of the industry. I have a feeling that someone out there (Santa?) will make this very thing happen, wait and see. Merry Christmas to all!

  3. Frank – let’s hope so. Now, negotiations were supposed to start again at 1 pm CST, which 90 minutes ago. Maybe things will get settled that way. A little Santa Claus isn’t a bad idea, though! (Madonna? …that would be appropriate, lol)

  4. Thomas – VERY sorry to hear about your job. Man, this is a tough time we’re in.

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