Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 11, 2008

Republic Windows Workers: It’s Over!

Came in after I fell asleep on the couch:
http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=438

http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/10/illinois.labor.protest/index.html

I’m going to put my head down on a real pillow, and sleep really well! More in the (later) morning. Congratulations and huge kudos to the workers!!!

Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 11, 2008

This Chapter of Republic Windows Saga May Finally Be Ending (Again)

This from the union site at 8:37 p.m. CST:

Negotiations at Republic Conclude; Workers to Make Final Decision
Negotiations on behalf of UE Local 1110 members occupying the Republic Doors and Windows plant have concluded, with the UE negotiating committee heading back to the plant to discuss bargaining results with the 260 workers who have occupied the plant in shifts since Friday night.

Bargaining began for the third day this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. with all of the parties involved in the occupation, including Bank of America.

Now, it’s up to the Local 1110 members to hear what the committee has to say, discuss the issues and then make their decision by democratic vote.

A statement to the press will be made shortly at the factory at 1333 N. Hickory.

http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=437

Then this from cnn.com at 8:57 CST:

BOFA extends loan to pay protesting workers
Posted: 09:57 PM ET

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) — Bank of America has agreed to extend a $1.35 million loan to a failed Chicago window manufacturer so the company can meet federal obligations to its laid off workforce, the bank’s Illinois president said Wednesday.

Earlier, union representatives said negotiations had ended and the negotiation committee was on its way to report to more than 200 workers who have occupied the Republic Windows and Doors factory since the lay-offs went into effect on Friday.

Illinois bank president David Rodis said that the additional loan — Bank of America had previously cut off credit to Republic, prompting the closure and lay-offs — would “be used exclusively to pay its employees.”

http://cnnwire.blogs.cnn.com/2008/12/10/bofa-extends-loan-to-pay-protesting-workers/

And the Huffington Post at 10:08 p.m. ET:

Workers are voting on a proposal to end a sit-in at a Chicago window and door factory that’s come to symbolize the plight of laid-off laborers.

Union organizer Leah Fried says negotiations to determine the fate of scores of workers holed up in the Republic Windows & Doors plant ended Wednesday night, the sixth day of the protest.

Fried says the tentative agreement needs worker approval for the sit-in to end.

It was negotiated between parties that include the plant’s owners, union leaders and Bank of America. Fried declined to release details, pending the vote.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/10/republic-workers-continue_n_149976.html

Now, assuming the workers WILL get paid what they’re owed, to what extent did Republic Windows operate in bad faith? That may be the next chapter.

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!).

Note: I’m sticking this post to the top of the page, for easy access. New posts will be below this one.

No final agreement was reached in bargaining on Tuesday involving UE Local 1110 members who have occupied their workplace, the Republic Windows plant, since Friday. Another negotiating session has been set for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. (CST).

Get updated info on a support rally you can attend in various cities:
http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=434

Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 10, 2008

Other interpretations, anyone?

1) Bush and Company trashed the place, but I’m OK. I’m still here. Nothin’s gonna change MY world.

2) Before I abandoned my factory…err, Soda Shop…for cheaper digs in another non-union…err, “business-friendly”…state, me and some of my buds took bats to the joint while some spaced-out singer kept getting in the way! : )

What’s your take on this video?

arrestsPhoto by Bill Hackwell

A protest at the Powell and Market Bank of America in San Francisco on Tuesday night drew attention to the struggle of the workers at Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago. Four people were arrested for protesting inside the bank.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/12/09/18554160.php

And now, I’ve got to get some sleep. Hopefully, the workers’ situation will be resolved today.

Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 10, 2008

At The Republic Windows Factory

Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 10, 2008

No Final Agreement Reached For Republic Windows Workers

The union that represents the (ex)workers of Republic Windows has just stated that

No final agreement was reached in negotiations Tuesday. Another negotiating session has been set for Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. (CST).

http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=435

Of course, while negotiations are going on at that time, support rallies will be taking place in various cities.

Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 10, 2008

Supporters of Republic Windows Workers Staging Rallies Across The Country!

Wow. From New York to Raleigh, NC; from Detroit to Boston, there are rallies scheduled (mostly today, Wednesday) to support the laid-off workers of Republic Windows. Be there! For details on the cities and times, go here:
http://www.ueunion.org/uenewsupdates.html?news=434

Posted by: Patrick Barbanes | December 10, 2008

Protest Rally at BofA HQ in Chicago

Progress Illinois, sponsored by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), “provides online news and commentary on issues important to Illinois working families and the progressive movement at large.” Here’s their announcement of a rally on Wednesday, in support of the Republic Windows laid-off workers:

During a rally tomorrow, workers, labor leaders, and an increasingly disillusioned public will take their disgust with BOA to the bank’s front door. It’s likely that some influential allies will join too. As we wrote yesterday, there’s no shortage of public officials — aside from the conspicuously absent Mayor Daley — willing to stand on the side of the Republic employees.

http://progressillinois.com/2008/12/09/day-six-republic-windows

RALLY INFO
Wednesday, December 10, 2008 – 12:00 NOON
231 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL

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